First baseman Michael Cuddyer of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas. The Texas Rangers beat the Minnesota Twins 20-6. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Two position players pitched against each other Sunday. Which position player on your team would you most like to see on the mound?
Yesterday, I wrote this feature, something of a rant, as to why the Red Sox and Orioles "threw away" Sunday's game by both using position players as pitchers.
Perhaps I was too hasty. Chris Davis had better velocity than some men who are actually on major league rosters as pitchers. Seeing this happen, while maybe not the best baseball, is at the very least entertaining.
Baseball managers can't put just anyone off the bench in to pitch -- they have to submit a list of which position players they'd use, if things came to that point. But what if any position player were eligible? Which position players would you like to see take the mound?
Here are my selections, one for each of the 30 teams (including the Red Sox and Orioles), in alphabetical order by city, working off the 25-man rosters as of Tuesday, May 8.
This is the team that once sent Mark Grace, with a sheepish grin on his face, to the mound to pitch. In that spirit, I choose 40-year-old catcher Henry Blanco. Besides, he probably knows more about pitching than many current pitchers.
Boston Red Sox
Darnell McDonald made his second pitching appearance in less than a calendar year Sunday, so it's obvious he's Boston's guy. Seriously, though -- wouldn't you love to see David Ortiz throwing 70-mile-per-hour fastballs?
Even standing on a 10-inch-high pitching mound wouldn't make Tony Campana taller than a lot of the hitters he'd be facing. He'd probably get everyone out because they'd be laughing so hard they wouldn't see his pitches sneak across the plate. This is a team that sent 5-7 outfielder Doug Dascenzo to the mound four different times. His career ERA was 0.00.
They've got last year's 19th-inning pitching hero, Wilson Valdez, on their roster after an offseason deal with the Phillies, so that's who they'd probably use. Really, there isn't anyone else on that roster I'd rather see pitch, so I'll choose Valdez.
This could be an entire fun-fest. Wouldn't you love to see Prince Fielder on the mound? That'd be great. But so would a pitching appearance by Miguel Cabrera. Or Delmon Young. We can only hope.
Kansas City Royals
At the risk of upsetting Royals fans, there might be several position players on this roster who could do better than the current pitching staff, which ranks 12th in the American League in ERA. But the obvious choice has to be Jeff Francoeur, who probably has the best arm of anyone on the team.
You'd think my first choice here would be Ryan Braun, but I'm going with Corey Hart. Seeing that 6-foot-6 frame staring down from a pitcher's mound at a hitter could even be intimidating.
In 2011, they used outfielder/first baseman Michael Cuddyer as a pitcher; he threw a scoreless inning, but now he's playing for the Rockies. Denard Span would be amusing, if only for the tweets we'd see after the game.
New York Mets
This roster has been made over so many times by injury this season that there isn't really anyone that interesting in the position player list. So let's go with Scott Hairston, just to get both the Hairston brothers on the mound.
Kila Ka'aihue. I was surprised to learn, when looking up Kila's major league record to date, that there have been 20 Hawaii-born pitchers in MLB history, including two active hurlers: Scott Feldman and Jerome Williams.
The Pirates also have a roster that's had quite a bit of turnover since last season, and even during this season. I don't have a personal favorite here, so let's choose Neil Walker, because he's a Pittsburgh-area native.
Toronto Blue Jays
Omar Vizquel gets the nod here, so that the American League could have a 45-plus-year-old pitcher to match the National League's Jamie Moyer. (Vizquel can probably throw faster than Moyer, too.)
I could pick Rick Ankiel here, because he used to be an actual major league pitcher. But that would probably make the games too long, because of all the wild pitches we'd probably see. So instead, I'll choose Bryce Harper. Because Harper can do everything.