Michael Martinez became this season's first position-player pitcher and had to crack a smile
One of the most exciting things about a new season starting is anticipating its "firsts." Who will hit the first home run? Who will throw the first no-hitter? And, most importantly, which position player will be the first to pitch in a game (shout-out to Eric Kratz)?
Well, that last question has its answer, less than two full weeks into the season: It's Michael Martinez, the Indians' utility man, who navigated the ninth inning of Cleveland's 10-4 loss to the White Sox on Thursday night. (Note: Christian Bethancourt is attempting to become a catcher/outfielder/pitcher type for the Padres and has thrown a few innings already this season, but his is a unique situation).
What Martinez didn't have in velocity on the bump, he made up for with "stuff," pitching around a two-out double to retire the side with a scoreless frame. And his No. 1 jersey matched his position on the field, too!
Michael Martinez sat around 78-80 mph with his "fastball." Allowed a double to center, but induced three groundouts. What a world.- Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) April 14, 2017
Martinez was already particularly versatile, playing all three outfield positions, shortstop and third base for the Indians last season, but now that he's also proven he can be a successful relief pitcher?
After the game, Martinez told MLB.com's Jordan Bastian (through team translator Anna Bolton) that the experience was, "a lot of fun," adding that he had pitched previously in the Minors and is willing to do whatever the team asks of him:
As for what the members of the White Sox might have been saying to him as they came to the plate, Martinez replied:
No wonder he seems to have enjoyed his debut so much.