Wise tosses scoreless ninth for White Sox
Outfielder allows single, walk before getting double play, fly out
CHICAGO -- There was no need for White Sox outfielder Dewayne Wise to go over the signs with catcher Tyler Flowers when he came in to pitch the ninth inning of Tuesday's 18-9 loss to the Twins at U.S. Cellular Field.
A fastball that topped out at 76 mph was pretty much all he had to employ.
"I told Flowers, 'I'll try to throw a little two-seamer to move away from them.' That's what I did," Wise said. "I didn't try to throw hard.
"They were facing guys who were throwing up to the upper 90s all game, and then I was throwing 74. They were in front of it a little bit, so it worked out."
Wise, who went 2-for-3 with two run-scoring doubles after entering the game in the fifth inning, joined Jeff Mathis as Major League Baseball's only position players to pitch twice during the 2012 season. Mathis, a catcher for the Blue Jays, took to the mound on May 25 and July 25, while Wise previously worked two-thirds of an inning on June 29 for the Yankees in a 14-7 loss to the White Sox at Yankee Stadium.
In that particular contest, Wise induced a deep fly ball from Paul Konerko and a ground out from Alex Rios to end a four-run ninth as New York's fifth pitcher. The left-hander was pitcher No. 6 on Tuesday, entering the game with the White Sox trailing by an 18-8 margin.
Reliever Deunte Heath, one of the White Sox September callups, was unavailable because of a foot infection and Brian Omogrosso had thrown 43 pitches over 3 1/3 innings. Omogrosso followed Philip Humber, who yielded eight runs on seven hits over one-third of an inning, meaning it was on Wise's shoulders to save the bullpen on this lost night.
"You start going through there toward the end," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura as to when he started thinking about Wise on the mound. "I asked him and he was up for it. It's good when you've got team guys that are willing to do stuff like that."
"That time I threw earlier against the White Sox, I was hoping it would be my last time," Wise said. "They were hitting us pretty good. From the night before, we were trying to save our bullpen a little bit. He asked if I could throw, and that's what I did. I just wanted to go out there and try to throw nice and easy and hope I can get them out."
Drew Butera opened the ninth with a single, in a matchup of position players who had pitched this season. Butera worked in a 16-4 loss on May 20 against the Brewers and hit 94 mph on his fastball.
After a walk to Matt Carlson, Wise induced a Darin Mastroianni double-play grounder and Ryan Doumit's fly ball to right to end the frame as the only unblemished White Sox hurler on the night. Using a position player as a pitcher is a tough call for any manager.
It's an even tougher spot for the hitters facing that position player and usually his slow and slower fastball.
"Teammates are telling you, 'You better not strike out,'" Wise said. "Guys are going to laugh at you. In the past when I faced a position player, normally I'd swing at the first pitch and tried to get it over with."