Some big names were tossed around as potential World Baseball Classic replacements for the injured Mark Teixeira, but the fill-in will be Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer.
It’s hard to imagine that Hosmer was their first choice, especially following a disappointing season in which he hit just .232 with 14 homers and a .663 OPS in 152 games, but in 2011 he was very impressive as a 21-year-old rookie and before that he was an elite prospect.
Teixeira injured his forearm hitting off a tee before yesterday’s exhibition game and was immediately removed from the roster. In addition to Hosmer the other options at first base for Team USA include Joe Mauer and Ben Zobrist.
The Orioles don’t yet have the worst record in baseball. They’re tied for the most losses with 16, but they have two more wins than the Marlins and one more than the Royals, so let’s say that they have overachieved to this point. Kudos to being a bit plucky in the early going!
But make no mistake: the Orioles are not a good team and I suspect they will soon be the worst in the league. When they are, they will likely get blown out quite often and when they are blown out they will put position players on the mound more than almost any other team. Heck, they’ve done it three times already this year and the season is only three weeks old.
The latest Orioles position player to pitch was catcher Jesús Sucre, who took the mound in last night’s 12-2 loss to the White Sox. And he wasn’t half bad! He retired the side in order and needed only nine pitches to do so:
There once was a time when it was a novelty to see a position player pitching. It happens all the time now, partially because of blowouts, partially because teams have decided it’s better to get embarrassed a bit than to burn a bullpen arm in a game they’ve given up trying to win.
I suspect the Orioles will take the practice to a whole new level in 2019, though. For better or for worse.