Josh Wilson ties for the active lead in position-player-pitching appearances with his fourth effort
Wilson ties for active position-player-pitching lead
With the season entering those hot and humid summer days, the need to rest your pitchers has only intensified. Not surprisingly, we've also seen a sharp uptick in the number of position players pitching. (Not that we're complaining. Position players pitching is the best part of summer -- ahead of catching fireflies, going to the beach and eating midnight ice cream.)
After only five position players took the mound from the start of the season through June 15, we've now seen seven over the last five days, including a record-breaking five not-quite-hurlers in a two day span. It's beautiful, like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly that tosses 80 mph, as proven by Jeff Francoeur even lasting two whole innings:
With the Tigers trailing the Yankees, 13-3, in the bottom of the eighth on Saturday, Josh Wilson entered the game. It was his fourth relief appearance, tying him with Skip Schumaker for the most pitching appearances from an active position player. Oddly enough though, despite Wilson's experience in the role, this was his first time on the mound since he took the loss in an 18-inning game in 2009:
Following that six-year gap in appearances, it would make sense that Wilson was a litle rusty. Using a remarkable four-pitch mix of a mid-80s fastball, cutter, slider and changeup, Wilson struggled a bit, giving up a home run to Chris Young and tossing a pitch behind Brendan Ryan. Though you could just argue that he was simply reclaiming a bit of the inside corner of the plate:
However, Wilson soon settled down and got an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play to finish out his frame.
Which means we'll hopefully see complete game shutout next time he takes the hill. Hey, a guy can hope, right?
While Schumaker and Wilson battle for the active lead in appearances, they will likely never take the all-time title. Though it's difficult to figure out, separating out the players like Babe Ruth, Jason Lane and Rick Ankiel who made position changes, and players like Brooks Kieschnick and Willie Smith who split time at their two positions, it appears that Jimmie Foxx is the record holder. The three-time MVP pitched in one game in 1939 before taking the hill nine more times in his final Major League season in 1945.
(Source: Baseball-Reference Play Index)