With an already overworked bullpen taxed once again, the Twins turned to Jamey Carroll to pitch the eighth inning of Minnesota’s 13-0 loss in Kansas City.
Yes, 39-year-old infielder Jamey Carroll.
Twins starter Kevin Correia lasted just two innings, so Minnesota needed three relievers to get through the next five innings. Wanting to save the bullpen’s arms, manager Ron Gardenhire summoned Carroll to take the mound in the eighth.
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Nine pitches were all Carroll needed to pitch a scoreless 1-2-3 eighth inning Monday against the Royals. It wasn’t pretty — he topped out at 79 mph — but Carroll indeed got the job done in what was perhaps the Twins’ only bright spot Monday.
“We just tried to get through it as best we could without killing our bullpen,” Gardenhire said. “We had one player left on the bench. (Pedro) Florimon’s not ready, so Jamey said, ‘I want to do it.”
Carroll retired the first batter he faced, Elliot Johnson, on a fly ball to left field in three pitches. The next batter, Mike Moustakas, flew out to right field on the second pitch of the at-bat for the second out. It was the only time all game Moustakas was retired, as he finished the night 4-for-5 with a double and two RBI. Only Carroll had the answer for the Royals’ third baseman.
After two quick outs, Carroll retired George Kottaras on four pitches, getting him to ground out to second base to end a scoreless inning. Carroll was touching the mid-70s on the radar gun, hitting as high as 79 mph on the last pitch to Kottaras, according to MLB Gameday.
It was the 10th time in Twins history that a position player pitched, according to Twins director of baseball communications Dustin Morse. The last time it occurred was catcher Drew Butera, who pitched last season. In 2011, outfielder Michael Cuddyer was summoned to pitch an inning in a lopsided game against the Texas Rangers. Those three pitched a combined three scoreless innings.
Butera walked a batter and threw a wild pitch but escaped his inning against the Milwaukee Brewers unscathed. Cuddyer, meanwhile, loaded the bases on two hits and a walk but finished the eighth inning against the Rangers without allowing a run. Prior to Cuddyer in 2011, the last Twins position player to pitch in a game was John Moses back in 1990 — he pitched twice that year.
Monday’s game was just the 55th this year for Carroll, who has seen his role in the infield diminish. After a scoreless inning, though, perhaps the Twins will call upon him in relief a few more times.
FOX Sports North’s Kevin Gorg contributed to this report.