The Baltimore Orioles used infielder Hanser Alberto as a relief pitcher yesterday. It’s understandable why; the game was out of control, and manager Brandon Hyde wanted to save his bullpen. However whether or not that’s a good idea in general is another story.
Again, I understand the reasoning behind the move. In fact, Hyde indicated after the game that Alberto might have saved the team from having to make a roster move when asked if that was a possibility:
Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports
I definitely was thinking that during the game. But then Hanser picked us up, so it’s something we’re going to discuss after this.
There’s something to be said for that. It’s also a trend that we’re seeing across the big leagues. Heck, Tampa sometimes uses their pitchers in the field and then swaps them onto the mound. And I’m submitting that perhaps some of these practices need to stop.
Nobody uses a position player as a pitcher in a close game. It’s generally done in the manner that Brandon Hyde did it yes
terday; an out-of-control game so as to save a reliever. But are we really doing a service to the game itself when pulling a stunt like that? Are we really giving people what they paid good money to see?
As bad as it was seeing the Oriole bullpen get lit up time after time yesterday, that beat seeing Alberto messing himself on the mound. And I say that in the sense that Alberto isn’t a pitcher. He doesn’t have the training and practice that pitchers usually have. Never mind the fact that someone could get hurt.
I just feel that there’s a better way to do things than using a position player. However it’s not something that I think should be against the rules. I would submit that the manner in which the Orioles used Chris Davis as a pitcher is a totally different story. If a team’s in extra innings and they’re out of pitchers, obviously someone has to come in. But I’d like to see managers stay away from that in a game such as a blowout.
So let’s put it this way; it should be legal. There should be no reason as per the rules of the game why a position player should be barred from pitching. But it’s something from which I wish managers would stay away unless it’s absolutely necessary.