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Quickie: Missed one. July 28, 2011

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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Bryan Petersen of the Florida Marlins joined the ranks of the utility pitchers this year. Petersen was one of five position players called on to pitch this year, and like most of them, he was pitching on the losing end of a blowout. Specifically, the Padres were leading 14-3 going into the top of the 9th and Petersen, who had pinch-hit and moved to center field, got on the mound to finish off the game.

It wasn’t a perfect inning – he walked left fielder Chris Denorfia – but it was scoreless and he pitched reasonably well.

One reader found The World’s Worst Sports Blog by searching “Year of the Position Player Pitchers.” I don’t think that’s necessarily true. Last year, the number of left fielders alone who pitched was four. (That doesn’t count Roy Oswalt or Kyle Lohse, each of whom did spot duty at left field once last year.) Felipe Lopez, Andy Marte, Joe Mather, Kevin Cash, Jonathan Van Every, Joe Inglett, Aaron Miles, and Bill Hall were the eight position player pitchers last year; Petersen, Wilson Valdez, Mike McCoy, Michael Cuddyer, Don Kelly, and Mitch Maier are six players over about 64% of the season (based on games played). That works out to about 9 to 10 position player pitchers on the season, if they’re uniformly distributed (which they’re not). There was probably a dip in use of position player pitchers after Jose Canseco‘s famous bonehead inning (in which he blew out his arm and required Tommy John surgery), but it’s not that uncommon.