For most baseball fans, watching a position player take the mound and pitch in a blowout is highly entertaining. How fast is his fastball? Does he strike anybody out? These are the amusing elements that make an otherwise frustrating game somewhat tolerable for fans of the team on the wrong end of the score.
For Los Angeles Angels skipper Mike Scioscia, however, it's territory he hasn't yet navigated in his 16 years as a manager.
However, this almost came to a head earlier this week. As Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register detailed, utility infielder Ryan Jackson was warming up in the ninth inning of Sunday's game with the Toronto Blue Jays at Angel Stadium. The Halos were down seven runs and closer Huston Street, getting some work in since he hadn't pitched in a few days, was laboring.
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Scioscia told Fletcher that having Jackson warm up marked the very first time he's ever had a position player get ready in the bullpen: "It's not a source of pride at all. If you need to do it to save a pitcher, you do it. But you have to be sensitive to the fact that there are a lot of guys who think they can pitch and when they go out and throw 25 or 30 pitches, it's a little different than you think."
Fletcher noted that as of Wednesday, 24 position players have pitched so far this season for various MLB teams - just nobody on the Angels, of course. This late into the season, preserving what you can from your main bullpen arms is a must. Street and setup man Joe Smith have been relied upon heavily by Scioscia and his pitching staff, and will only get more work as the Angels try to remain in the postseason picture over the next few weeks.
With rosters expanding on September 1, it seems inevitable that the Angels will bring in some bullpen reinforcements that will be able to spare some of their everyday guys - so it seems even more unlikely to see an Angel position player pitch anytime soon.