Thursday, April 13, 2006

Position player plunks

The 206 pitchers who have hit Craig Biggio with a pitch all list "pitcher" as their full time position, but one of the best reasons to keep watching a blow-out game is the hope that one of the position players will be called on to pitch. On August 30, 2001, Steve Finley, now with the Giants, pitched a full inning of relief for the Diamondbacks and hit Jeff Kent with a pitch. Finley is the only active position player who has plunked someone, and also the most recent position player to hit a batter.
In May of 1999 the Pirates were getting pummeled by the Astros so thoroughly that they sent backup catcher Keith Osik to the mound. Osik hit Richard Hidalgo in that appearance, and the Pirates were apparently impressed enough to let him pitch again in 2000. Osik hit 2 batters in that game, giving him an impressive 3 hit batters in 2 career pitching appearances.
Other recent position players to hit a batter while pitching include Mark Whiten in 1998, Houston hitting coach Gary Gaetti in 1997, Chili Davis in 1993, and Mickey Hatcher in 1989. Craig Reynolds was the last Astros position player to hit a batter, also in 1989.

Looking at the other side of players playing out of position, 4 pitchers who have hit Craig Biggio with a pitch have also recorded 1 game played at a fielding position. Jason Simontacchi spent an inning in left field for St. Louis in 2004, and Rick Reed spent a third of an inning in right field for the Mets in 1999. Pedro Martinez, for some reason, started a game at 3rd base for the Dodgers in 1993 but appears to have been pinch-hit for in the top of the 1st inning. I'm sure there's a story behind that, and it probably has something to do with his brother Ramon pitching, but I don't know what that story is. Finally, in 1988 the Cardinals sent pitcher Jose Deleon to left field in the 16th inning against the Braves. It appears that they tried very hard to keep Deleon from having to do anything in the outfield, because they switched him back and forth from left to right field with Tom Brunansky 11 times in the 4 innings it took to finish the game. It didn't work though - Deleon is the only pitcher to plunk Craig Biggio who has recorded a put-out at a position other than pitcher.


At 4/14/2006 04:07:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding Pedro Martinez playing 3rd...

Dodgers were away at Cincinatti.. Pedro was only penciled in the lineup to give regular 3b Dave Hansen a shot at the Dodgers team single season pinch-hit record. So in the top of the 1st, Pedro was called back from the on deck circle, and Hansen pinch hit and played 3rd the rest of the game.

So even though he never took the field Martinez technically gets credited in his stats for a game at 3rd.


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