Twins infielder Carroll perfect in pitching debut
Veteran needs only nine pitches to retire the Royals in eighth inning of loss
KANSAS CITY -- It's never a good sign when a position player has to take the mound, but it's exactly what happened for the Twins on Monday night against the Royals.
With the Twins down 13-0 in the eighth, manager Ron Gardenhire called on veteran middle infielder Jamey Carroll to pitch for the first time in his 12-year career. Carroll made the most of it, retiring Elliot Johnson, Mike Moustakas and George Kottaras on just nine pitches, but didn't gloat about it after the game, considering the lopsided defeat.
"You want to say it was fun, but the circumstances aren't ideally what you want to have," Carroll said. "I just wanted to get in there and give us a chance to help out."
With Minnesota's bullpen tapped out after several short outings from its starting pitchers, including just a two-inning performance from Kevin Correia, Carroll volunteered to go out for the eighth despite the fact he hadn't pitched since he was 15.
Carroll stuck with just his fastball, which ranged from 74-79 mph, and was able to get Johnson to fly out to left, Moustakas to fly out to right and Kottaras to ground out to second.
"I was just trying to throw the ball and let them hit it," Carroll said. "I told [catcher Chris] Herrmann I'd throw only fastballs and try to throw them all away if they get there. I wasn't going to do anything silly. I just wanted to get the inning over as fast as possible and try to save an arm."
It was an impressive outing for Carroll, especially after Correia gave up six runs over just two innings and reliever Ryan Pressly surrendered seven runs in just 1 1/3 innings.
"I got outpitched by a 38-year-old infielder tonight," said Correia about Carroll, who is actually 39. "It shows you how the game is. You can go out there and not get a guy out and then someone else comes in there and gets guys out. I don't know that I've had a game where a position player has pitched where I started so that's never a good sign."
With his scoreless inning, Carroll became the seventh Twins position player to pitch in a game, joining Drew Butera (2012) Michael Cuddyer ('11), John Moses ('89, twice in '90), Dan Gladden ('88, '89), Cesar Tovar ('68) and Julio Becquer ('61).
Gardenhire said Carroll was his lone option given their short bench with shortstop Pedro Florimon out with inflammation in his left wrist.
"I had one player left on the bench with Florimon not ready so Jamey said, 'I want to do it,' so there you go," Gardenhire said. "I hope the pitchers watched."