Newest National Bronson Arroyo made his Major League debut as a pinch-hitter -- in sneakers
Veteran pitcher and karaoke master Bronson Arroyo agreed to a Minor League deal with the Nationals on Tuesday night, with an invitation to Spring Training. Washington will be the fifth team of Arroyo's 16-year career, a career that's spanned 2,364 2/3 innings, 1,526 strikeouts and 145 wins. But Arroyo's big league debut didn't include any of those things -- it didn't even involve cleats.
It had taken Arroyo five years to make it to the Show, but on June 12, 2000, the Pirates finally called him up prior to their game against the Braves. But he was a starter, and his turn in the rotation wasn't coming for a few days, so he figured he'd have the day off -- so much so that he didn't even wear his spikes to the field. Alas, if the Baseball Gods have taught us anything, it's that they'll always find you, and they've got a fantastic sense of humor.
With the Pirates up 8-6 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Pittsburgh reached the pitcher's spot in the order. Not wanting to burn any of the bats on the bench, manager Gene Lamont called on Arroyo and his tennis shoes to pinch-hit. He faced Bruce Chen, and to his eternal credit, somehow managed to work the count full before grounding one back to the mound. Not the ideal first day in the big leauges, but hey, it could've been much worse, as he explained to the Beaver County Times after the game: