Recently acquired outfielder Leonys Martin made his Cubs debut ... as a pitcher?
Back on Aug. 31, the Cubs acquired Leonys Martin from the Mariners. The trade seemed to make sense for Chicago for several reasons, from Martin's plus defense at all three outfield spots to his value as a pinch-runner.
Of course, with Joe "three-catcher infield" Maddon at the helm, things are never as simple as they seem. Martin finally made his Cubs debut during Monday's 12-0 loss to the Pirates, but it wasn't in the field or on the bases -- it was as a pitcher.
It was a long day for the Cubs bullpen after starter Jake Arrieta left in the third inning with a cramp. With Chicago trailing, 8-0, with one out in the eighth and reliever Dillon Maples struggling, Maddon opted to save his bullpen and bring in his newly acquired position player. And while Martin struggled a bit in his first career pitching performance, giving up up two runs on three hits, he also managed to get the Cubs out of the inning -- and showed the ability to field his position:
After the game, Martin told MLB.com's Bob Cohn that he last pitched in organized baseball as a 17-year-old in Cuba -- and while he'd always wanted to try it again, no one let him take a crack at it until now.
"I will never forget this day," he said. "I asked many times, but nobody ever let me pitch."
His fastball was clocked as high as 91 mph, and that number could've been much higher if he hadn't been worried about his command.
"I was afraid to hit somebody," Martin told Cohn. "I was trying to throw the ball over the plate."
No doubt inspired by his new teammate's effort, Jon Jay helped him out with a sliding catch to end the inning:
Note to other Major League GMs: Before you swing a trade with Theo Epstein and Co., make sure you're not unwittingly giving away a future closer.