Astros infielder fires scoreless eighth inning in tough loss to Rangers
ARLINGTON -- Jake Elmore wasn't in the starting lineup for the Astros, but he received plenty of work in the 16-5 loss on Monday night at Rangers Ballpark.
The infielder replaced Carlos Corporan as the catcher in the fourth, then pitched for Houston in the eighth. It was the 14th time in Major League history that a player appeared as a catcher and a pitcher in the same game. Jeff Mathis was the last to accomplish the feat with the Blue Jays on July 25, 2012, against the A's.
"Elmore should probably be in the icetub, icing every part of his body," Astros manager Bo Porter said.
Elmore retired the Rangers in order on 11 pitches, inducing two groundouts by Jurickson Profar and David Murphy, who pitched a scoreless inning in his Major League debut on June 4 against the Red Sox.
"He stayed below hitting speed and had fun," Murphy said. "He had more sink than me. He had more sink on his fastball."
"I don't know if you call it a fastball," Elmore said. "I was just throwing a little two-seamer and trying to keep it down in the zone to get ground balls."
The Astros informed Elmore that he would possibly pitch to help save the bullpen in a game where the Rangers scored 11 runs in the third. He made four pitching appearances in the Minor Leagues, the last in 2011 with Double-A Mobile.
Elmore just wasn't expecting to catch. Houston lifted Carlos Corporan from the game with a possible concussion after he was hit in the head by a foul ball in the third inning.
Elmore, who went 1-for-2 with a single and run scored in the Astros' four-run seventh, said he was recruited out of high school to be a catcher, and he has also caught two bullpen sessions during his time with the Astros.
"I told them I could catch two weeks ago, so maybe if the game was out of hand, why not see if I actually can catch," Elmore said. "Hopefully, I did all right."
Elmore didn't have to worry about the Rangers stealing bases with a comfortable lead and managed to get four innings of work behind the plate before he pitched the eighth. Designated hitter Jason Castro moved behind the plate.
"It was impressive for a guy like that to do all that," starting pitcher Lucas Harrell said. "Not many people have done all that, and it saves the bullpen. What he did was huge. Having a guy like that on your team, you always need a guy like that. For him to do that, it was very special."
"I think when any player plays out of position, it's always fun to watch and see what happens," Elmore said. "I'm glad I didn't embarrass myself."