Catcher Gimenez pitches 1-2-3 inning to aid 'pen
With Texas losing big, backstop records whiff in Major League pitching debut
ARLINGTON -- The phone rang halfway through the eighth inning.
The call was regarding Chris Gimenez, the Rangers' backup catcher. In just a few moments, he would trot out to the mound for the ninth inning, making his first Major League pitching appearance with Texas trailing by 11 runs.
The Rangers, who lost to the Angels, 15-6, on Thursday night, had decided to use Gimenez to close the game in order to save an already taxed bullpen.
Gimenez's outing marked the eighth instance in Rangers history in which the club decided to call on a position player, Gimenez being the seventh player used. Mitch Moreland pitched in Colorado on May 6.
Immediately, Gimenez attempted to calm himself down.
"Obviously it's not something you ever really want to do, slash, you kind of do," Gimenez said. "You never really want to have to go pitch, but I figured since I was going to have to do it, you might as well have fun with it."
Before the inning began, Gimenez and fellow catcher Robinson Chirinos had agreed that Gimenez would throw mostly fastballs. The last time he pitched was in an Alaskan league of college summer ball. He joked his ERA was 36.00.
With his 87-mph fastball, a few changeups and one knuckleball, Gimenez retired all three Angels batters he faced.
David Freese grounded out, C.J. Cron struck out swinging and Hank Conger flied out to center field.
"I'm a catcher, so I kind of have an idea. I'm not trying to throw the ball 95 [mph], I'm just trying to throw it and let them get themselves out because it's hard enough to hit off a position player as it is," Gimenez said. "In the fourth inning, I didn't really have an idea, but obviously that's a situation where it could present itself, so I went ahead and told [coach Tim Bogar], 'Hey, if you need me, I'm good.'"
Chirinos said that the fact that Gimenez had to pitch was a bad sign in itself.
"It means they've scored a lot of runs," Chirinos said.
But he added he was proud of his fellow catcher.
"He threw a couple pitches," Chirinos said, "got some quick outs and gave us a chance to get out of that inning quick -- saved our bullpen a little bit."
Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.