The M's bullpen had such a rough night against Minnesota on Tuesday that veteran backup catcher Carlos Ruiz was called upon to close out the game.
Until Tuesday night, he’d played in 1,109 games in a 12-year career in the majors that included an All-Star team nomination in 2012… but had never taken the mound as a pitcher.
That changed in the Mariners’ eventual 20-7 defeat to the Twins — a game that saw the M’s use five different pitchers.
With the M’s trailing Minnesota 19-6 in the eighth inning, Ruiz came into the game as a pitcher. Ruiz’s debut didn’t go so well — he gave up a home run to Eddie Rosario to give Minnesota its 20th run of the night.
Most Read Sports Stories
- Pittsburgh LB and team captain Cam Bright announces graduate transfer to UW Huskies
- John Stockton’s defiance of COVID-19 mask mandate forces Gonzaga to suspend Hall of Famer’s season tickets
- Key dates to keep in mind as the Seahawks navigate the offseason
- Former Hungarian Olympic gymnastic champion dies after COVID infection
- Nothing goes right for UW Huskies men in blowout loss to Oregon
But Chooch then settled down, giving up a pop out and a walk before striking out Kennys Vargas with an 82 mph fastball.
That gave Ruiz more strikeouts than Mariners’ relievers Casey Lawrence, Marc Rzepczynski and Tony Zych, who all made appearances Tuesday night in the M’s defeat.
Ruiz finished his pitching debut with a 9.00 ERA and an official stat line of two hits, one earned run, two walks, a strikeout and a home run.
Phillies fans took to Twitter to laud their beloved Chooch, a fan-favorite during his years in Philly.
It’s relatively rare for catchers to pitch too. The San Diego Padres have experimented this season with using backup catcher Christian Bethancourt as a pitcher, but the results were mediocre, and he has since been sent down to Triple-A.