Three Revolution pitchers bat in July 12 game
The planets aligned for the Revolution to have a short bench for the July 12 game against Bridgeport, with Johan Limonta departing for the Mexican League the prior evening. The team was also without shortstop Wilson Valdez on the 12th, an excused and expected absence, as he was honored at the Nationals-Phillies game as part of the Phillies’ “10 Years of Citizen’s Bank Park” series.
Valdez, who played the 2010 and 2011 seasons with the club, was brought back to commemorate the game where he pitched the 19th inning in on May 25, 2011 against the Reds. Valdez started the game at second base, tossed a scoreless inning, and wound up the winning pitcher when a Raul Ibanez sac fly scored Jimmy Rollins in the bottom of the 19th for a 5-4 Phillies win. It marked the first time a player started in the field, moved to pitcher and wound up with the winning decision since 1921- when Babe Ruth did it.
So Valdez threw out the first pitch tonight in Philadelphia and was honored for the achievement as they celebrate a decade of their ballpark. He has been adamant about not pitching again, in order to keep his career ERA at 0.00, and his career record an un-blemished 1-0. His absence had the blessing of Manager Mark Mason, especially so after the Revolution wrapped up a playoff spot by winning the first half. This left York with the shortest of bench however, with the only extra player the second catcher, Alberto Espinosa. When left fielder Jason Repko sustained an injury in the third inning, Mason’s hands were tied.
He moved the DH Bryant Nelson to third base, Ofilio Castro to from third to second and Eric Patterson from second to left field to replace Repko. Repko, who was batting seventh, vacated his spot in the order for the Revolution pitcher with the loss of the DH.
In what ended as a 9-3 loss, here’s how the three pitchers who batted fared:
4th inning – RHP Scott Gorgen advanced to first (fielder’s choice) on a grounder to third on a 1-2 pitch, forcing out Bryant Nelson at second 5-4.
(Was the 31st professional at-bat for Gorgen, who played with the St. Louis Cardinals at Double-A Springfield in 2009, 2010 and 2012 and at Triple-A Memphis in 2012. At Double-A and Triple-A, when two National League affiliates face each other, there is no DH and pitcher bats for each club. The DH is used at all other times, even if a National League affiliate is hosting an American League affiliate. Hence the reason Gorgen had a handful of pro at-bats. He’s now a career .194 hitter (6-31), with two doubles, a walk and a RBI. In 2012 with Springfield however, he batted .357 (5-14) with that lone RBI.)
6th inning – LHP Edward Paredes grounded out to short on a 1-1 pitch, moving runner Travis Garcia from second to third. Garcia would score a batter later on a Salvador Paniagua RBI single.
(Was the second professional at-bat for Paredes, but his first since playing in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League upon first signing with the Seattle Mariners in 2005.)
8th inning – RHP Beau Vaughan struck out swinging on three straight pitches. He actually didn’t pitch in the game, he was sent to the plate as a pinch hitter. Following the first half title, Vaughan had mentioned to Mason that he hadn’t had a professional at-bat yet in his 11th professional season, something he wanted to rectify. Turns out the opportunity came faster than anticipated, and Beau went up there hacking.
It marked the first time the pitcher batted in a game for the Revolution since 2011, when outfielder Val Majewski pitched at Sovereign Bank Stadium after starting the game in the field, and then batted while in the lineup as the pitcher. The last time an actual pitcher batted for York before July 12 was when lefty starter Jesus Sanchez garnered a pinch-hitting appearance in 2010. FUN FACT: York captured the Atlantic League Championship both of those seasons the last time “the” pitcher, or “a” pitcher batted for the Revolution. Tonight, both “the” pitcher and “a” pitcher batted.
With a postseason berth already clinched, will the pitcher batting in 2014 spur York to another ring? Maybe!