For the first time in Washington Nationals history the team used a position player to pitch when first baseman/outfielder Clint Robinson took the mound Tuesday for the eighth inning in a blowout loss to the Diamondbacks.
Arizona knocked starter Stephen Strasburg out in the fourth inning, getting to him for eight runs, but Robinson had a lot more success. Working with an 81-mph fastball and the occasional slider, Robinson tossed a scoreless inning, allowing only a single, and the left-hander even picked up a strikeout against former All-Star Aaron Hill.
James Wagner of the Washington Post writes that Robinson hadn’t pitched in 12 years:
So Robinson went down in the batting cage to warm up his arm. He hasn’t pitched since his senior year at Northview High in Dothan, Ala. in 2003. He was a two-way player then who, he said, reached the low-90s with his fastball. But he didn’t pitch often then because, he said laughing, it took him weeks to recover. But for one inning against the Diamondbacks, he was willing to try. He wasn’t nervous.
Robinson is a 30-year-old rookie with eight seasons and nearly 4,000 plate appearances in the minors, so of course he raised his hand when Nationals manager Matt Williams asked who was willing to pitch.