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Bobby Kielty trying to come back as a pitcher

Feb 8, 2010, 9:04 AM EDT

Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors hears that former Athletics, Twins, Red Sox and Blue Jays outfielder Bobby Kielty is converting to pitching and that he actually has a pretty good slider.

There aren’t a ton of recent examples of position players with any kind of mileage on them converting into pitchers.  Tony Pena is trying to do that with the Royals right now.  Ron Mahay did it.  I remember Mark Lemke trying to come back as a knuckleballer for a spell, but that didn’t work out. It’s a tough trick to be sure.

You have to wish Kielty good luck because it’s always cool to see unusual stuff go down. The only possible reservation I have is that if he does make the bigs as a reliever his last major league moment will no longer be hitting a pinch-hit, game-winning home run in the 2007 World Series, which is a pretty spiffy way to go out. 

  1. BC - Feb 8, 2010 at 9:14 AM

    I think if I recall Tim Wakefield was an outfielder or first basemen before converting to pitcher. I know Bobby Thigpen was not a pitcher in college, but can’t recall what position he played.

  2. Old Gator - Feb 8, 2010 at 9:22 AM

    I have a pretty good slider, too – a red-eared slider (Chrysemys scripta elegans) named Elian; the name was suggested by the little red Young Pioneers scarf his namesake is often photographed wearing these days – in my backyard pond. He feeds on romaine lettuce, chopped fish and pelleted trout chow, which means his per diem is about one fiftieth per day of even a minor league pitcher conversion. If you’ve been keeping track of the ongoing ecological disaster that is Macondo these days, you know that the Fish and Wildlife folks are apoplectic about all the feral former pet red-eared sliders loose in our canals, tupping the big native female yellow bellied turtles like ballplayers on the road porking their strange in the service tunnels of the local Marriott and breeding out a strain of bastard red-eared yellow bellies to go with our northern snakeheads, fire ants, Burmese pythons, Cuban anoles, giant snails, walking catfish, monk parakeets, Mutts fans and what all else have you.
    Elian doesn’t really belong here either, but I have provided him with a big female yellow bellied turtle (much the way Tio Borracho provided his namesake with all those toys on Sixty Minutes, remember?) so he doesn’t have anything to complain about. Nor do I. My strange never had shells.
    And here’s a link where you can check out everything you always wanted to know about red-eared sliders but were afraid to ask:
    and just in case you’re a Mutts fan and want Omar to consider having his relievers add a red-eared slider to their repertoire of gopher pitches, here’s the one you want them to have:
    …although no doubt if Bill Lee were still pitching he would have figured out how to throw one of these too.
    In all seriousness, though, don’t try to throw a red-eared slider. You’ll have PETA all over you like flies on feces if you do.

  3. BC - Feb 8, 2010 at 9:33 AM

    But if you’re really looking for a good slider, you cannot accept any substitute for the best:

  4. lessick - Feb 8, 2010 at 9:45 AM

    MLBTR followed that up with an email received from Kielty:

    “Kielty says his ultimate goal is to be a right-handed bat off the bench and eat up some relief innings if necessary. “

  5. Old Gator - Feb 8, 2010 at 10:00 AM

    You n’ me have this much in common. Whenever I’m on Lon Gyland, I never pass by the White Castle on either Route 110 just south of the Walt Whitman Mall or, as an acceptable alternate, the one on Sunrise Highway by the Lon Gyland Railroad station in Lynbrook, and scarf down a half-dozen or so of those incomprehensibly wonderful little burgers. Long before some imaginative genius – perhaps the same one who came up with “signifyin'” or applied “thalidomide” to the operations of Murphy’s Law as it reads out in terms of human destiny – codified the grease that makes these things taste so sublime into the term “slider,” they were just known as “White Castles,” as in “You wanna go get some White Castles?” Yeah. In my day, they were the definitive answer to the puffin’ munchies – and, because they contained no sugar, you could go on stuffing yourself with them, mounting ever higher and higher towards sheer ecstasy, without having hyperglycemia develop to kill your appetite. Oh, the sheer, exquisite, profligate indulgence of it. Gimme a sackfull! No, gimme two! Urrrrppppp! And all of this without the sanctimonious posturing and pretense that allegorizes those horrible horsemeat and velveeta sandwiches a mere 90 miles or so to the south.
    And we’ve got Steve Phillips on another channel this morning apologizing for his particular form of gluttony? For Buddha’s sake, Steve, show a little pride.

  6. BC - Feb 8, 2010 at 10:09 AM

    My all time record in one sitting is 17. Mmmmm… White Castle.

  7. TF in Tampa - Feb 8, 2010 at 10:12 AM

    Back in Jersey, where I grew up, those sliders you are referring to were labeled “Rat Burgers’.
    In my carefree late teens/early 20’s youth, when I did not know any better, my buddies and I would only visit a White Castle burger joint late at night after swaggering out of our local watering holes, half drunk and stoned, looking for a cheap meal. It was a ritual I am not now proud of, but can laughably look back on as brainless, considering our state of mind at the time.
    Ahhh,those were the days…. and nights. Go Ask Alice!
    The one positive… I’m still here to talk about it!

  8. Old Gator - Feb 8, 2010 at 10:18 AM

    If I hadn’t been so stoned I would have kept count. As it is, all I can do is bow to you on this matter – it’s kinda like the rules the Spad and Fokker pilots lived by in WWI, you know, if you didn’t see it hit the ground, you couldn’t stencil it on your cowling.
    Oh, those little tiny onions.

  9. TF in Tampa - Feb 8, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    To: OG and BC
    I haven’t had breakfast yet [I over indulged on garbage superbowl food and beer] and all this talk about burgers and sliders has me thinking that I would love to go and fire up a fat bone just to reminisce how it felt.
    But as Ringo sings, ‘No, no, no, no, I don’t smoke it no more. I’m tired of waking up on the floor. [music now, please]
    No thank you please, it only makes me sneeze. And then it makes it hard to find the door.’
    Are you with me, guys?

  10. Old Gator - Feb 8, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    Sorry, not this time. I went over to Lazeesh Asian Cuisine last night for a superb Chicken Karahai, a wonderful Pakistani-style papri chaat and a sublime kheer that was the consistency of the finest custard. This morning I felt fine enough to have some cold-smoked white king salmon flown directly to me from Taku Smokeries in Juneau ( on a toasted Weight Watchers bagel with low fat Neufchatel cheese, sliced bermuda onion, sliced uglyripe tomatoes, sliced cucumber, spinach leaves and a quick twist of freshly ground real Indonesian black pepper.
    Well enough, in other words, to observe my youthful gourmandry and other forms of happy self-abasement from a safe distance.

  11. TF in Tampa - Feb 8, 2010 at 11:43 AM

    Stop already, Gator! I’m feeling lightheaded and dizzy [an guilty] cause I ate bad last night and I still haven’t eaten yet this morning, trying to keep up with you guys parleying about food.
    Do you really eat that good [especially the breakfast part], or are you digressing for our pleasure?
    Don’t get me wrong, I would eat like that if I could, but I don’t
    live in the World Class, culturally diverse epicurean and ethnic town that you have the pleasure of. I am a connoisseur, so to speak, that is I enjoy taking part in consuming fine foods and wine, but am limited up here to where and when.
    Now pardon me, I’m long over due for my honey nut Cheerios and ripe banana feeding.
    OMG, is it lunchtime already.

  12. Joe - Feb 8, 2010 at 12:19 PM

    Free Bobby Kielty!

  13. Richard Dansky - Feb 8, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    I believe Troy Percival started out as a catcher. Wakefield was a 1B when he was drafted but couldn’t hit Freddy Patek’s weight.

  14. Cedric Boinker - Feb 8, 2010 at 12:53 PM

    Pretty sure Tony Pena Jr. is coming back as a pitcher for the Giants, not the Royals. I also recall Brooks Kieshnick having a modicum of success as a middle reliever/ pinch hitter for the Brewers a few years ago.

  15. Moses Green - Feb 8, 2010 at 1:21 PM

    What makes Kielty so unusual is that he had a fairly successful MLB career as an OF. 99 times out of 100 guys switch since they can’t make it as a field player but some astute coach notices they can throw the ball through a plywood wall. I’m somewhat of a fetishist on this weird baseball subtopic, all pitchers played some field position at some point in their career, and a lot of them were really good. The major and minor leagues are chock full of guys who started out as minor league field players and went through the change. Not in a Christina Kahrl sense. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Where were we?

  16. Old Gator - Feb 8, 2010 at 1:23 PM

    I hate to say this – especially knowing that there are correspondents peeking in from Philadelphia, where they…aw, no, let me not even bring that up on this post; it contravenes the entire spirit of the thing – but, yes, I do eat that good…er, well. I actually took cooking courses up at some of the culinary institutes with which this center of tropical rot to shame Tennessee Williams is so richly and undeservedly endowed. Plus, I have a wonderful little orchard out back with some truly exemplary carambola, sapodilla, tamarind, jaboticaba, mamey, mango (four kinds), camito, papaya, sapote negra, banana (six different varieties), lychee, Florida mulberry, persimmon (fucking possums!) and june plum trees. I make the best goddamned banana bread you ever et, and my cheesey jalapeno cornbread, black sapote pies, chocolate Kahlua peanut-butter filled cheesecake and carambola custard tarts are renowned for yards about.
    Life is short. Too short for horse…no, no, I promised myself.
    You can take immediate steps to rectify (so to speak) your problem by going to the Taku Smokeries web site, provided above, and ordering yourself some hot and cold smoked king salmon trays. And anything else that appeals to you. It will transfigure your breakfasts the way that something the fundamentalists refer to with indefatigable idiocy as The Rapture transfigured our boring old eschatologies. You can transmogrify your lunch or dinner by driving up I-4, exiting at the SR535-Lake Buena Vista exit, going west for about a quarter mile and turning right into the little strip mall where Giordano’s Pizza (which should have made Steve Bartman irrelevant to everyone in Chicago but didn’t because their habit of whining is so deeply ingrained) is located and ordering the stuffed spinach special, with extra veggies. You can also help your meals along by ordering some Galapagos shade-grown-in-volcanic-soil coffee from Epicure (or other online sites), and you can help your attitude immeasurably by frying up some felafel and watching my beloved Gillian on Shimmy.
    For more advice than that, I start charging a fee by the hour.

  17. BC - Feb 8, 2010 at 2:06 PM

    Rick Ankiel can throw a ball through a wall, he’s just more accurate from 300 feet than from 60 feet 6 inches. Oh yeah, that, and he can hit.
    I thought I read somewhere that Micah Owings was contemplating a similar switch. Can’t find anything on it though.

  18. Moses Green - Feb 8, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    Ankiel is the perfect guy to bring up though, because he’s Bizarro Kielty. Only he got put there by THE THING. The thing is so scary it’s baseball’s Chupacabra.

  19. Dwight Escamilla - Feb 8, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    This was an interesting read, I tend to agree with you.

  20. TF in Tampa - Feb 8, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    First things first, a deep bow to you kind sir, and from Prez NObama too, seeing he’s bowing down kissing everybodies, oh, I don’t want to say it. [did you see him last week when he visited Tampa? Upon exiting Air Force One, and being greeted by six honorees, Charlie the Gov, a Macdill AF base General, etc… he bowed down to our Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio]. The invaluable insights and education you provide us regarding your culinary traits are priceless [until we get into that hourly thing you happen to mention, and at what $ amount I’m sure I can’t afford, but thats ok, your worth it].
    I think you should consider changing your handle from ‘Old Gator’ to ‘Gourmet Man’, and get yourself signed up to replace some of those frauds getting too much air time on the Food Channel, this way you can get sooo much more exposure than CTB [or Hardballtalk], or whatever Craig’s new blog name is. If that doesn’t work out, I have some connections over at HSN in St. Pete that I’d be happy to help out the cause with, they’re always looking for fresh talent to help sell new ideas.
    Now regarding that rodent and wild animal problem you have in your garden in your backyard orchard, may I suggest a large German Sheppard with free rein access. Problem solved and they are very loyal to their owners.

  21. TF in Tampa - Feb 8, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    I forget one thing, Gillian is a sweet young thang for sure, I can see why your in love. Those curves and those moves! Oay vey! Personally, I took a liking to Simone. I haven’t had a redhead in quite sometime. They tend to be wild, if I remember correctly!

  22. Stephnie Mizzi - Feb 8, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    This was an interesting read, I tend to agree with you.

  23. Old gator - Feb 8, 2010 at 4:33 PM

    Yeah, while I wait to use up our annual Blue Cross family deductible so I can go get my nose fixed.
    Yes, she’s a killer beauty – and what’s really interesting is, she’s not by any means limited to what I would have considered “belly dancing” in the Lebanese Restaurant sense. There are some videos of her scattered around on YouTube of her in some mixed traditional/modern/experimental dance routines that are just stunners – and I should add that I am (for real) on the advisory board of a modern dance company in Houston and am a serious aficionado of most dance forms. I don’t fall into obsessions readily or easily; it takes something special. Ergo, Gillian has really pushed back my whole conceptualization of the genre. This may well be an overreaction to my own ungainliness on the dance floor (an ungainliness which, I am relieved to say, is limited solely to the vertical posture) – I have been favorably compared by my wife to the dancing hippos and pachyderms in Fantasia. Anyway, my professional opinion, untrammeled lust notwithstanding, is that she’s good – really good – and young enough so that the prospect of how good she’ll be in the future is exciting.
    That, and it’s that uncanny blend of innocent beauty and volcanic voluptuousness that makes it so difficult to take my eyes offa her. I just have to pray that no one puts up a billboard with her on it anywhere near the Canadian side of whatever I-5 morphs into on the drive up from Seattle. Look for a little post with a wreath of flowers over it where I went off the road. And I couldn’t fault anyone who took a shine to any of the other dancers on that show – they’re all devastating. Gillian’s just – well – moreso, is all.

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