Craig Counsell, Manny Pina, Hernan Perez, Lorenzo Cain
AP Images

Three position players have already pitched in 2018

8 Comments

The 2018 season is only ten days old, and already we’ve seen three position players take the mound. Usually one of the more entertaining moments of any given baseball game, these appearances have run the gamut from cringeworthy (i.e. necessary due to gruesome injuries) to impressive.

Last week, Phillies center fielder Pedro Florimon became the first position player to try his hand at pitching in 2018. Only two days after Opening Day, he was called upon to cover the eighth inning of a particularly brutal 15-2 beatdown by the Braves. He debuted a rudimentary fastball-changeup combo against the heart of Atlanta’s order: inducing two consecutive fly outs, issuing a four-pitch walk to Nick Markakis and granting pinch-hitter Lane Adams his first home run of the year.

Brewers utility player Hernan Perez, on the other hand, wasn’t given nearly as long of a leash when he took the mound during Thursday’s 8-0 loss to the Cubs. Of course, the circumstances surrounding his first pitching opportunity were also considerably more alarming: Milwaukee closer Corey Knebel labored through two outs in the ninth inning before collapsing on the mound with a hamstring injury. The first Brewers’ position player to take the mound at Miller Park in eight years, Perez was given the reins for the final out of the inning and promptly deposed Tommy La Stella with a line out to left field.

On Saturday, Rays second baseman Daniel Robertson stepped up to deliver the most impressive non-pitcher pitching performance of the year. Down 10-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning, he replaced Sergio Romo to face the top third of the Red Sox’ lineup. Armed with a changeup that fluttered between 74-77 mph, he put Brock Holt away with a pop-up to second base and induced back-to-back line outs from Andrew Benintendi and Blake Swihart to end the inning.

Per MLB.com’s Bill Chastain, Robertson was just the eighth position player to ever pitch for the Rays.

Never stop pitching, position players. (Well, do stop pitching, but thanks for the laughs.)

Indians designate Carlos Gonzalez for assignment

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Indians have designated outfielder Carlos Gonzalez for assignment. This comes after Gonzalez batted a mere .210/.282/.276 over 117 plate appearances in Cleveland. That came after he had to settle for a minor league contract with the Indians in mid-March.

A few years ago Gonzalez was a superstar, winning three Gold Gloves, two Silver Slugger Awards, making the All-Star team three times and coming in third in the MVP balloting once upon a time. That was then, however. His most recent good season came in 2016, when he hit .298/.350/.505 with 25 homers and drove in 100. In 2017 and 2018 he combined to hit .232/.269/.334. Between his falloff in production and the fact that his big numbers of the past were heavily supported by playing at Coors Field, it should not be shocking that he couldn’t make it work in Cleveland.

If he wants to continue his career, he’ll no doubt have to take a minor league gig someplace. Otherwise, this could be the end of the line.