Longtime UTIL Culberson eyes 2nd career as pitcher (report)

January 12th, 2024

After appearing in parts of 11 MLB seasons as a utility man,  is set to attempt a late-career shift to the mound. According to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, Culberson will attend Minor League camp with the Braves as a pitcher. The club hasn’t confirmed the report.

Culberson, 34, does have some pitching experience in the Majors. He’s thrown 7 1/3 innings across eight appearances, allowing one run on seven hits with one strikeout and three walks. He also threw 3 2/3 innings for Triple-A Gwinnett in 2023. 

Culberson has topped out at 93.7 mph in his MLB pitching appearances, which have mostly come as a mop-up man in blowouts.

A lifetime .248/.294/.386 hitter, Culberson has made appearances at every position on the diamond except for catcher and center fielder during his career, spending time with the Giants, Rockies, Dodgers, Braves and Rangers since his debut in 2012. However, he played just one MLB game in 2023, making an appearance off the bench in a game for the Braves last July.

There is some recent precedent for the sort of transition Culberson will be attempting as he looks to resurrect his career as a pitcher.

Jason Lane played for the Astros and Padres as an outfielder from 2002-07 before returning to throw 10 1/3 innings with a 0.87 ERA over three appearances for San Diego in 2014. And Anthony Gose had a 3.90 ERA over 27 2/3 innings for the Guardians in 2021-22 after previously appearing as an outfielder for the Blue Jays and Tigers from 2012-16. Gose, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2022, remains with Cleveland on a Minor League deal.