Craig Counsell, Manny Pina, Hernan Perez, Lorenzo Cain
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Three position players have already pitched in 2018

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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.)

Bryce Harper played some third base in an intrasquad game

Bryce Harper third base
Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.

Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.

Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”

Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.

Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.