WATCH: Rays Outfielder Makes Hilarious Emergency Pitching Appearance
By Jason Hall
July 3, 2021
Every so often, Major League Baseball position players will have to make emergency relief pitching appearances due to strict substitution rules, a lack of bullpen depth and/or a blowout score.
That happened Friday (July 3) night during the Tampa Bay Rays' game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Buffalo, New York.
Rays outfielder Brett Phillips made the most of his chance to take the mound in an MLB game, showing the joy of a Little Leaguer leading up to and during his only career pitching appearance.
MLB's verified Twitter account shared a video highlighting Phillips' pitching debut, which showed the 27-year-old joking in the bullpen, testing out his windup and running full speed onto the field before entering the game.
"No one has ever wanted to pitch more than @brett_phillips8 😂," MLB's account tweeted.
Phillips entered the game with the Rays trailing 10-1 in the eighth inning and, despite allowing one earned run, fared well during his lone inning as an MLB reliever.
“To be expected, but at the end of the day, he picked us up. Appreciative of that,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said via MLB.com. “It's never comforting to put a position player out there, but applaud Philly for understanding. He was right at it and would expect that he was going to have some fun with it.”
Phillips' first pitch was a 94.3 MPH fastball. Keep in mind, the outfielder has been credited as having "an 80-grade arm."
“He threw it very hard,” Rays catcher Francisco Mejía told MLB.com through team interpreter Manny Navarro.
But the initial fastball was followed up by several pitches registering at or below 50.4 MPH on the radar gun.
Phillips managed to force Jonathan Davis to fly out to center and Reese McGuire to groundout on the following at-bat.
However, All-Star second baseman Marcus Semien hit a single, which was followed up by consecutive walks to Bo Bichette and All-Star first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., with several pitches high above the strike zone to load the bases.
Santiago Espinal hit an RBI single that scored Semien before Teoscar Hernández was retired during the following at-bat.
"Pitching is way harder than it looks," Phillips quote-tweeted after the game in response to a video showing him dropping the baseball while coming up from a stretch.
The Blue Jays defeated the Rays, 11-1, in the opening game of their weekend series Friday night.