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Mariners' Luis Sardinas proves worth as utility man, tosses perfect eighth inning against Cubs

Despite intermittent showers sprinkling Wrigley Field throughout the day, the Cubs dispatched the visiting Mariners, 12-1, on Friday. As tends to happen these days in one-sided contests, the M's trotted out a position player to pitch the eighth and save a fresh bullpen arm for the weekend.

That position player was infielder Luis Sardinas, who set down a trio of Cubs in order on eight pitches, using fastballs ranging from 79-82 mph and a 66-mph curve to retire Addison Russell on a hard grounder to third, Jason Heyward on a nubber back to the mound and Javier Baez on a deep fly to left.

His time out there was so enjoyable that he couldn't help but crack a smile at how things were going: 

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With his team trailing by a dozen runs at the time, having sat through a 74-minute rain delay and just embarking on a stretch of 32 games in 33 days, Mariners skipper Scott Servais figured it was the right time to lean on a position player to pitch for the first time this season.

"It was my first time on the mound in professional baseball," said the 23-year-old. "I didn't try to do too much, just tried to throw the ball right down the middle."

"Tremendous job," said Servais. "He threw the ball downhill, had a little breaking ball. That's not easy, with the rain delay and we're down like that."

With that appearance, the versatile Sardinas proved his worth as a utility man -- as he's now seen game duty at shortstop, second base, third base, first base, left field and the pitcher's mound this season. That's how to earn your keep at the big league level.