Anthony Rizzo threw two pitches to record an out in his MLB pitching debut
The Cubs had to go to the bullpen early in Monday night's 7-1 loss to the D-backs at Wrigley Field. Starter Luke Farrell was removed in the fourth inning, and Joe Maddon used relievers Brian Duensing and Randy Rosario for the middle innings.
Catcher Victor Caratini -- making his second pitching appearance in less than a week -- was up next, but things changed in the ninth. With two outs, A.J. Pollock came to the plate and faced ... Anthony Rizzo, who was making his first career pitching appearance. As you'll see in the clip atop this post, he succeeded in finally convincing Maddon to let him toe the rubber.
And he did well! Rizzo only needed to throw two pitches, retiring Pollock on a flyout to center fielder Ian Happ to end the frame and his pitching debut.
And for some number-crunching:
Anthony Rizzo's first pitch was 53.6 mph but he ramped it up to 62 mph to retire AJ Pollock.- Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) July 24, 2018
Love seeing pitchers reach back for a little extra in a big spot.
Rizzo really can do it all.
Don't expect to see Rizzo coming in to pitch again, though:
Rizzo says that's it, he doesn't want to pitch again. It was his 1st time on the mound since his last high school game. #Cubs- Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) July 24, 2018
"The end. That's it. It was awesome. I promised Joe [Maddon] I wouldn't blow out [my arm]," Rizzo added. "I've been working on that for six or seven years now with [Mike Borzello] every day during BP. It was pretty crazy standing on that mound."
And on only having to throw two pitches:
"I got to do what I wanted to do. A lot of fun and a career zero ERA now," Rizzo said after the game about his big debut.
Cubs fans enjoyed the scene -- and Rizzo got a kick out of their reaction:
"It's awesome. It's fun. You have to have fun with it. At the same time, try not to embarrass yourself too much. I'm happy A.J. [Pollock] popped that one up because he's one of the better hitters in the league."
Said Maddon: "That's it. He's got his shot, and I don't want to hear it again. He actually conceded he'll never want to pitch again. He's going for the greatest leadoff hitter and relief pitcher in the same season."
Caratini and Rizzo weren't the only two position players to pitch in a single game on Monday, as the Rangers' Carlos Tocci and Ryan Rua did the same in Texas' 15-3 loss to the A's in Arlington.