Dan's Dugout: Never Know Who's Gonna Pitch • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Never Know Who’s Gonna Pitch

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Maybe naming your son after a famous celebrity actually helps.

Jesus Sucre, a 27-year-old Venezuelan catcher who usually rides the bench for the Seattle Mariners, got into Friday’s game as a pitcher and threw a scoreless eighth inning in a 10-0 loss at Houston’s Minute Maid Park.

Sucre, who actually induced a double-play ball during his unexpected appearance, said afterward he had never pitched before — not even in Little League.

He’s the fourth Mariner position player to pitch in a game, following Jamie Burke, John Mabry, and Manny Castillo.

King Felix had a tough outing Friday

King Felix had a tough outing Friday

Sucre surely didn’t expect to pitch — especially in a game started by Seattle stalwart Felix Hernandez. But when the Astros dethroned the Cy Young contender after one-third of an inning, the rout was on.

Mariners manager Lloyd McLendon was muttering Sucre’s first name all night before actually inserting the backup catcher. He admitted after the game that he was trying to save his overworked bullpen, especially with a rookie slated to start Saturday.

The point about Sucre is that neither players nor fans know when a position player will be asked to perform Mission Impitchable. In fact, Colorado once won a game against Atlanta in Denver when the pitcher of record was backup catcher Brent Mayne.

And let’s not forget that jack-of-all-trades Jose Oquendo once threw four innings of relief before the Braves tagged him with a loss.

Desperate-to-win managers are changing pitchers so often that their bullpens may burn out by the All-Star break. The Braves, for example, have already blown a dozen games in the late innings.

Changing arms too often sets the stage for strange pitching

Bud Selig turned the 2002 All-Star Game into a tie

Bud Selig turned the 2002 All-Star Game into a tie

decisions. It would have happened in the 2002 All-Star Game at Milwaukee’s Miller Field if the two managers, prodded by then-Commissioner Bud Selig, decided to declare a draw.

Baseball history is full of pitching appearances by non-pitchers. Stan Musial and Ted Williams, both pitchers in their youth, made a few fleeting appearances. But how about rifle-armed rightfielder Rocky Colavito, a one-time American League home run king, getting a win while throwing a surprise inning of relief while winding down his

Winning pitcher for the Yankees?

Winning pitcher for the Yankees?

career with the New York Yankees?

Such surprises make watching baseball more fun — and even more bearable when the hometown team is getting trounced.

Diamond dust:

Yankees Old Timers Day June 20 will include Hall of Famers Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson, Goose Gossage, Wade Boggs, Rickey Henderson, and Joe Torre plus World Series perfect game pitcher Don Larsen and long-time second baseman Willie Randolph, who will be honored before the game . . .

David Ortiz has struggled lately Image Credit: Bill Menzel

David Ortiz has struggled lately
Image Credit: Bill Menzel

Is age catching up to Red Sox DH David Ortiz? The future Hall of Famer, struggling against lefties this season, bristled when benched against Baltimore southpaw Wei-Yin Chen last Wednesday . . .

With a dozen players injured or absent last week, Mets manager Terry Collins was testy during an appearance on MLB Network . . .

Look for the Milwaukee Brewers to listen to all offers for third baseman Aramis Ramirez (Mets?) and catcher Jonathan Lucroy (Braves?) . . .

Justin Verlander is back for the first time this season

Justin Verlander is back for the first time this season

Detroit got an enormous boost Saturday when erstwhile ace Justin Verlander, out since March 27 with a right triceps strain, returned to the rotation . . .

If the Cubs promote newly-signed closer Rafael Soriano, as expected, he’ll earn the pro rated portion of a one-year, $4.1 million contract . . .

Hall of Fame Johnny Bench and current first baseman Joey Votto, who did it last week, are the only Reds to hit three homers in a game three times . . .

Strange bedfellows: Washington star Bryce Harper grew up in Las Vegas loving the New York Yankees . . .

Bryce Harper once rooted for the Yankees. Photo Bill Menzel

Bryce Harper once rooted for the Yankees. Photo Bill Menzel

Talented Yankees starter Ivan Nova is scheduled to return from Tommy John surgery before the All-Star break, around the same time closer Andrew Miller (elbow) comes off the disabled list . . .

Struggling Cincinnati took another hit when shortstop Zack Cozart tire ligaments in his knee and biceps tendon, effectively ending his season . . .

In the wake of Chris Heston’s no-hitter at CitiField, the Giants got an even bigger boost from the return of erstwhile ace Matt Cain after elbow surgery (bone chips) and a flexor strain in his forearm . . . .

What was Wade Miley thinking when he confronted manager John Farrell in the Red Sox dugout after another miserable start? . . .

Mazel tov to Yankees rookie outfielder Mason Williams, who homered in his second major-league at-bat . . .

Will Washington get Aroldis Chapman?

Will Washington get Aroldis Chapman?

NL East rivals are praying that Cincinnati does NOT swap closer Aroldis Chapman to the Washington Nationals, as the rumor mill suggests . . .

Collar that fits: Melvin Upton, Jr. went 0-for-4 in his first start for the San Diego Padres, who obtained him from the Braves . . .

Sorry to see ex-Yankee Shane Greene flop with the Tigers after a strong start and earn a ticket to Triple-A . . .

Another ex-Yankee, lefty reliever Phil Coke, has bubbled up in Toronto after a brief stop with the Cubs . . .

Javy Lopez may have a right to complain about Atlanta rookie Jace Peterson wearing his No. 8 after he gave the Braves 10 solid seasons, capped by a 43-homer campaign that was a record for a catcher . . .

With its ninth straight win Friday — a come-from-behind 13-10 win at Fenway Park — Toronto proved its potent power can overcome any pitching shortages . . .

Tampa Bay has already started 26 rookies this season yet managed to keep afloat . . .

If Felix Hernandez fails to lead the American League in ERA this

The king was dethroned. Photo Courtesy: John Lok Seattle Times.

The king was dethroned.
Photo Courtesy: John Lok Seattle Times.

year, blame his Friday night start in Houston: eight runs in one-third of an inning . . .

Why did the A’s place Pat Venditte on the disabled list with an injured shoulder? Doesn’t the ambidextrous pitcher still have a healthy shoulder he can use? . . .

Tough year for San Francisco slugger Hunter Pence, who opened the season on the disabled list and has landed there again with a bad wrist . . .

The Yankees still hope the sprained right knee of centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury heals by the All-Star break . . .

Shelby Miller is having an All-Star season

Shelby Miller is having an All-Star season

Atlanta’s Shelby Miller has become a strong All-Star contender by adding a sinker and cutter to his fastball/curveball repertoire . . .

Bartolo Colon, the 42-year-old ageless wonder of the New York Mets, had posted a 6.44 ERA over a five-start span before beating the Braves for the third time this season Friday night . . .

Columnist David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on the horrific Braves bullpen: “Thursday’s loss was the eighth for the Braves in games they led after six innings, one more than they (had) in the entire 2014 season. Considering the Braves were only 2 1/2 games behind the NL-East leading Mets before Friday, it’s not a stretch to say they would lead the division with merely below-average bullpen performance instead of the majors-wirst relief work they’ve gotten so far.”

 

 

 

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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