A Look Back At LA Dodger Position Players To Pitch In A Game

In 53 years in Los Angeles, the Dodgers have had just seven position players pitch in a game. As is almost always the case, the position player entered in a blowout, although the Dodgers did have one of their seven position players get a decision. Here's a look back at all seven pitching appearances by position players in LA Dodger history (thanks to kinbote for the idea):

Mark Loretta

July 28, 2009 at St. Louis: 1/3 IP, one flyball, one hit-by-pitch

Chad Billingsley and Adam Wainwright were each scoreless through five innings, but that's where the good news ended for the Dodgers. Billingsley allowed six runs in the sixth inning of an eventual 10-0 loss. Brent Leach couldn't do any better in the eighth inning, allowing all four batters to reach safely, ending his Dodger career (Leach is now in Japan) by allowing his final six batters faced to reach base. Loretta hit Matt Holliday, then got Ryan Ludwick to fly out to deep left field to end the inning. It was especially bad for the Dodgers to use Loretta because they were carrying 13 pitchers at the time.

Robin Ventura

June 25, 2004 vs. Angels: 1 IP, three flyouts, one hit

Jose Lima had a magical year in 2004, but he didn't have anything magical on this night, allowing three home runs, 11 hits, and eight runs in his four innings of work. The Dodgers trailed 13-0 after eight innings, and turned to Ventura to finish the job in the ninth inning. He retired Robb Quinlan, Alfredo Amezaga, and reliever Derrick Turnbow on fly balls, with a single by Darrin Erstad mixed in between. Ventura told the Associated Press he was not happy with his performance:

"I just tried to throw it over the plate," Ventura said. "It was definitely weird."

Ventura said the last time he pitched was "a lot of years ago."

"I was not very good. I can honestly tell you that," he said.

The loss was the fifth straight for the Dodgers, who would also lose to the Angels the next day as well. Beginning with this game on June 25, 2004, the Dodgers have gone 36-66 in interleague play.

 

Chris Donnels

May 5, 2001 at Cubs: 1/3 IP, one groundout

One day after the Dodgers released Carlos Perez, eating the roughly $6 million remaining on the water-cooler-attacking left-hander's contract, they trailed 4-1 to the Cubs after six innings at Wrigley Field. Terry Adams began the seventh inning, and faced seven batters, but failed to get a single out. Adams was replaced by Rule 5 pick Jose Antonio Nuñez, who didn't fare much better, allowing nine runs while recording five outs. Nuñez was designated for assignment three days later, never pitching for the Dodgers again.

The bases were loaded with two outs in the eighth inning, and the score already 20-1. According to the Los Angeles TImes' game recap, "The Cubs became only the third team in the modern era and the first since Cleveland in 1928 to score eight or more runs in consecutive innings." After Nuñez walked five in the eighth inning alone, Donnels started Gary Matthews Jr. with two balls. However, Donnels got Matthews to ground out to Eric Karros, ending the inning.

Jeff Hamilton

June 3, 1989 at Astros: 1 2/3 IP, two hits, one run, one intentional walk, two strikeouts, Loss

This game probably deserves its own post at some point. It was one of two 22 inning games played by the Dodgers that season, and at seven hours, 14 minutes was the longest night game in National League history. Orel Hershiser pitched seven scoreless innings of relief, on two days rest, and would also pitch seven scoreless innings in the other 22-inning game that season, a 1-0 win in Montreal. The use of Hershiser would complicate the rotation for the Dodgers, who were already scrambling with an upcoming doubleheader two days later. The Dodgers recalled Ramon Martinez to pitch game one of that doubleheader, then optioned him back to Albuquerque after Martinez threw a six-hit shutout.

But back to Houston, the game was so crazy, and so long, that there were a number of memorable occurrences. John Shelby played all 22 innings in center field, but went 0-for-10 at the plate. After Hershiser, the Dodgers were out of pitchers, so they turned to Hamilton, who started the game at third base. With Hamilton on the mound, the Dodgers moved first baseman Eddie Murray to third base for one of just six games in his career, and brought in Fernando Valenzuela, the previous night's starting pitcher, to play first base.

Hamilton retired the Astros in order in the 21st inning, including a strikeout of Billy Hatcher, but allowed a leadoff single to Bill Doran in the 22nd. After a groundout moved Doran to second base, Hamilton intentionally walked Terry Puhl to face Ken Caminiti. After three two-strike foul balls, Hamilton struck Caminiti out swinging and was one out away from getting out of the inning. However, Rafael Ramirez lined a single over the outstretched glove of Valenzuela (three inches shorter than Murray) at first base, ending the game and giving Houston a 5-4 win.

Also, in case you needed another reason to love Vin Scully, check out this note from the Los Angeles Times:

Vin Scully, who fulfilled his Game of the Week assignment for NBC Saturday before flying from St. Louis to Houston, trotted through the press box in the Astrodome Saturday night during the national anthem, barely making it in time for the Dodger-Astro broadcast. The Dodger announcer, who usually does not work Dodger games on Saturdays, filled in for Don Drysdale, who has laryngitis.

Mickey Hatcher

May 4, 1989 vs. Cardinals: 1 IP, one run, three walks, one hit-by-pitch

With St. Louis leading 11-0 at Dodger Stadium, Mickey Hatcher was tabbed to finish the game. He was all over the place, walking three and hitting a batter. A Jose Oquendo double play grounder let Hatcher off the hook for what could have been a worse outing. Hatcher, per the LA Times, took it in stride.

"I needed one more inning. I was finding the zone," Hatcher said with a semi-straight face later. "I had good stuff in the pen, then I get in my first outing, and that guy (plate umpire Jim Quick) was squeezing me."

Danny Heep

July 30, 1988 vs. Astros: 2 IP, two hits, two runs, one home run (to Caminiti)

Heep, one of the famed Stuntmen, the name given to the Dodger bench in 1988, pitched the final two innings of a 14-6 loss to Houston at Dodger Stadium. It would be the last start for nearly two months for Valenzuela, who was battling shoulder and arm problems.

Jim Hickman

June 23, 1967 vs. Giants: 2 IP, three hits, one run, one home run (to Willie Mays)

Hickman was acquired along with hit-by-pitch king Ron Hunt from the Mets before the season for Tommy Davis and Derrell Griffith. Hickman, normally an outfielder and first baseman, entered the game with the Dodgers down 6-1 to start the top of the eighth inning. He retired five of the seven batters he faced, and allowed a solo home run to Willie Mays, certainly nothing to hang your head over. Pitcher Mike McCormick also had a single off Hickman, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double.

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