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Culberson welcomes chance to pitch again

MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- Less than 24 hours later, Charlie Culberson was dealing with some expected normal soreness and hoping he'll get another opportunity to prove the value of his versatility extends to the pitcher's mound.

"I think he's a definite option down the road," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I'm not going to feel any apprehension at all about having him [pitch again] because of how well he did it."

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ATLANTA -- Less than 24 hours later, Charlie Culberson was dealing with some expected normal soreness and hoping he'll get another opportunity to prove the value of his versatility extends to the pitcher's mound.

"I think he's a definite option down the road," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I'm not going to feel any apprehension at all about having him [pitch again] because of how well he did it."

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Given it would likely mean being on the wrong end of a lopsided loss, managers don't spend much time thinking about having position players pitch. But Culberson at least gave Snitker and the Braves something to think about as he consistently commanded a somewhat lively fastball while making his first career pitching appearance in the ninth inning of Friday's 11-5 loss to the Rockies.

Culberson allowed two hits and one run while pitching for the first time since he was a high school senior in 2007. His fastball touched 93.7 mph and averaged 92.2 mph, which per Statcast™ is slightly below MLB's 93.1-mph average. The average spin rate of his four-seam fastball was 2,430 rpm, which is well above MLB's average (2,262 rpm).

"I knew my ball had some carry to it," Culberson said. "This is the big leagues. There are guys who do this as a living and work really hard at it. I'm not downplaying pitching because it's not easy. But I know that if I worked at it, I'm not saying I'd be as good as these guys. But I honestly wouldn't mind being a guy help mop up an inning or so."

Culberson stands with Jonny Gomes (Aug. 28, 2015) as the only position players to make a pitching appearance for the Braves dating back to 1990. Injury risk has served as one of the primary reasons managers have long shied away from asking a position player to pitch. But there have been 58 Major League games played this year that included a pitching appearance from a position player.

"We dip into the well so much that after a while there's nowhere else to go," Snitker said. "You're in bullpens earlier and more often. It's a different animal."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Charlie Culberson