8/28 Pitching in

What other position players have pitched in for the Cubs when needed? Joe Mather did so in the ninth inning on Monday night against the Brewers, facing two batters and giving up a hit then a ground out to end the inning. Mather’s only other pitching appearance was April 17, 2010, for the Cardinals when he entered in the 20th inning against the Mets. The game was tied at 1, but he gave up back to back singles, and the game-winning run scored on a sacrifice fly by Jose Reyes. Mather did have an at-bat in the Cardinals ninth but flew out to right for the second out.

Who else?

* On July 3, 1999, Gary Gaetti switched from third base to pitcher in the eighth inning against the Phillies with the Cubs trailing 19-8, and retired the first batter he faced. But Marlon Anderson then homered and Gaetti walked the next batter. One out later, Doug Glanville hit a RBI triple to make it 21-8.

* Doug Dascenzo exchanged his outfielder’s glove for a pitcher’s glove in four games for the Cubs from 1990-91, giving up three hits, two walks and striking out two over five innings. He did not give up a run. His first appearance was June 12, 1990, against the Mets in the eighth inning of what would be a 19-8 loss. He threw eight pitches, six for strikes. He threw two shutout innings June 10, 1991, against the Dodgers, and made another appearance 17 days later — obviously, plenty of rest — on June 28 against the Cardinals. He also pitched July 2 against the Pirates, and had to face Bobby Bonilla, who singled, and Barry Bonds, who flew out. Dascenzo did get Bonds to swing and miss at a change-up. In 1992, Dascenzo said his pitching days were over.

“Any time I go out and touch the mound, we’re getting beat by 10 or 15 runs and we’re losing a game in the standings,” Dascenzo said. “I don’t want any part of that. I want us to be beating someone else’s brains in.”

His three relief appearances were the most by a position player since infielder Jim Morrison appeared in three games for the Braves in 1988.

* Larry Biittner didn’t have the same success as Dascenzo. On July 4, 1977, in the first game of a doubleheader, Biittner took over with one on and two outs in the eighth with the Cubs trailing the Expos, 11-2, and served up a home run to pinch-hitter Larry Parrish. In the ninth, he gave up a two-run homer to Ellis Valentine and a three-run shot to Andre Dawson. His final line: 1 1/3 innings pitched, six runs, five hits, one walk, one strikeout, three home runs.

* On Aug. 27, 1968, outfielder Willie Smith helped the Cubs in a game against the Giants. He started the game in left field, then replaced Bill Stoneman on the mound in the seventh. He threw a wild pitch, but settled down to strikeout Dick Dietz, and get a groundout. Smith finished the game, and helped in the ninth, hitting a two-run home run off Bobby Bolin, but it wasn’t enough as the Cubs lost, 8-4. Smith faced eight batters over 2 2/3 innings and struck out two. He did not give up a run or a hit. Smith had some experience. He was a pitcher in 1963-64.

— Carrie Muskat


I remember when I was a kid sitting in front of the TV watching one of those long extra innings games before the lights @ Wrigley and they brought Zonk in from the outfield to pitch before it got too dark to see.

Don’t forget Mark Grace!

Mark Grace did pitch, but it was while he was with the Diamondbacks, not the Cubs.

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