Jones almost pitched in Yanks' 19-inning marathon
NEW YORK -- The Yankees used seven relievers during Friday's epic 19-inning battle against the Red Sox, which they lost, 6-5. Had the contest pushed any further into the wee hours of the morning, the next man on the mound would have been Garrett Jones.
The first baseman and outfielder said that he has not pitched since 1999, when he was in his senior year at Andrew High School in Tinley Park, Ill. But with Esmil Rogers out of gas, Jones was getting ready to face David Ortiz in the top of the 19th inning.
"I was definitely really pumped to be out there," Jones said. "As a position player, it's always a thought in the back of your mind, 'I'd love to pitch.' Everyone thinks he can pitch. It would have been fun to just get out there and do it. But, at the same time, I wanted to get him out, as well. I would have been having fun, but I would have been competing."
Jones' services were not required because Rogers got Dustin Pedroia to line out to right field on his 81st and final pitch of the night. Manager Joe Girardi said that Pedroia would have been Rogers' last hitter, and Jones was preparing by tossing off the mound in the Yankees' indoor batting cage.
"I was trying to think back to some of the things I remembered," Jones said. "I was just going to go in there and try to throw strikes, not try to be too fancy. Hopefully throw strikes and get him out; throw under the hit speed."
Jones made his Yankees debut as a pinch-runner for Alex Rodriguez in the 11th inning of Friday's game, and that was an unlikely enough occurrence for the slugger. He would have become the Yanks' first position player to pitch since infielder Dean Anna, who did it last April 19 in a 16-1 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field.
Asked to provide a scouting report for himself as a pitcher, Jones laughed and replied, "Straight fastball and a dirty changeup."
"I might have mixed in a curve to Big Papi," Jones said. "I probably would have tried to mess with his timing; bigger leg kicks or a slide step to screw him up, because I know my pitches weren't going to fool him."