Former outfielder Jason Lane notches his first start as a pitcher and first hit since 2007
We all love redemption stories. Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven. Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. Scott Disick in Keeping up with the Kardashians.
Add a new name to the list: outfielder-turned-pitcher Jason Lane.
After hitting 26 home runs with an .815 OPS as an outfielder with the Astros in 2005, then knocking out four more dingers in the postseason and World Series, his future looked bright. But Lane was out of the Majors by 2007 after hitting just .175/.254/.345 between Houston and San Diego in his final season.
Thanks to a suggestion from then-Padres GM Kevin Towers, Lane gave up trying to bash dingers and switched over to the mound in 2012. Not that it would be an easy road.
After being released from the D-Backs' Triple-A affiliate with a 7.59 ERA, Lane joined the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League. The team is a haven for pitcher reclamation projects -- Lane's teammates included Roger Clemens and Scott Kazmir, while Tracy McGrady tried his hand at pitching with the club earlier this season.
Lane would play in Sugar Land for nearly two years before signing a Minor League deal with the Padres in 2013.
Like Phil Collins, Lane continued battling against all odds and was called up by the Padres in June. In his first appearance, he threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings.Three days later he would toss another scoreless frame. Still, he was sent back down to Triple-A.
Once again, it looked like this might be the last we'd see of Jason Lane in a Major League uniform. But like Rocky in Rocky 1, II, III, IV, and V and possibly Balboa, he wasn't done fighting.
On Monday, Lane was called back up, making a spot start in place of Ian Kennedy against the Braves. At the age of 37, he was the oldest pitcher to make his starting debut since the 38-year-old Troy Percival in 2007.
Not only did Lane start, but he also collected his first hit since September 11, 2007. Not that he wasn't a little rusty:
While Lane would keep the Braves off the board for the first six innings, the shutout would be broken up in the seventh. It's okay though because the home run came off the bat of another player with a good story: former janitor Evan Gattis.
Lane would finish his day pitching 6 innings while giving up six hits, one run and striking out two.