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Drew Butera pitched a 1-2-3 inning last night, topping out at 95 m.p.h.

May 15, 2014, 8:53 AM EDT

Drew Butera Getty Images

The Dodgers used six relievers to mop up the mess that Paul Maholm left last night. One of those six was Drew Butera. Catchers often have great arms for obvious reasons, but Butera’s was so great that you have to wonder why someone hasn’t turned him into a pitcher yet.

Butera pitched the ninth. He got a 1-2 count on Christian Yelich before forcing him to line out, a 2-1 count on Ed Lucas before getting him to ground out and then he struck out Marcell Ozuna on three straight swinging strikes. One of those strikes registered at 94 on the stadium gun, but BrooksBaseball said that last pitch was 95.1 m.p.h.. Another one of those strikes was on a 74 m.p.h. breaking ball.

This is the second time Butera has pitched. He did it once in 2012 and then, as now, pitched a scoreless inning while striking out a batter. Given that he’s a career .186/.236/.273 hitter, and given how much trouble the Dodgers’ bullpen has experienced this year, well, do I need to do the math for you?

  1. dan1111 - May 15, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    Why not do both? He could be a backup catcher and pitch in relief when he is not catching. It would add some interesting flexibility to the Dodgers’ roster.

    • dluxxx - May 15, 2014 at 9:18 AM

      That too.

    • Bar None - May 15, 2014 at 9:28 AM

      I have wondered why that isn’t done more often. Like Ankiel could have been used as a reliever and extra outfielder at the end of his career. Or Micah Owing.

      • dan1111 - May 15, 2014 at 9:39 AM

        I think one issue is that it is hard to work on both hitting and pitching to keep your skills up. Would Ankiel hit enough to be a useful outfielder, even a backup, if he were focused on pitching? But the “hitting” required of a backup catcher is so minimal that it just might work for that position.

        Admittedly, another issue is that Butera’s success won”t automatically translate to being a good reliever. Position players who pitch are benefiting from the fact that no one has seen their stuff before. There’s a good chance that he would not make it as a pitcher on a regular basis. Still, it’s worth trying, given how limited his offensive ability is.

      • Bar None - May 15, 2014 at 9:52 AM

        But I think if they focus on the position playing part it would work. Instead of some of the throwing drills for fielders, they could do a side bullpen session.

    • hansob - May 15, 2014 at 9:42 AM

      Brooks Kieschnick did it. Not the catcher part, but Kieschnick could actually hit a little bit. Butera can’t.

    • barrywhererufrom - May 15, 2014 at 1:51 PM

      Great point!! Maybe it would work better in the AL because the player-pitcher could DH limiting the amount of throws. The only issue I could see is that the player would not be able to focus on one skill set.

  2. dluxxx - May 15, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    I remember Butera doing that for the Twins in 2012 and asked myself the same question. I mean, he already hits like a pitcher, why not convert him?

  3. Jeremiah Graves - May 15, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    …but is he gritty and/or eccentric?! I’m pretty sure those are requirements to working out of the bullpen.

    • Cris E - May 15, 2014 at 11:40 AM

      He was picked up for his clubhouse presence and catcher-y grit. The Twins kept him for years when grit was more important than talent. He is gritful, sir, of that there is no doubt.

  4. proudlycanadian - May 15, 2014 at 9:23 AM

    Congratulations to Butera. He really should be given more chances to pitch.

    He was not the only position player to pitch last night. Steve Tolleson finished the game for the Jays. He gave up a hit before retiring the last batter on a pop up. With this appearance, the only positions that Tolleson has not played in the majors are CF, 1B and C.

  5. thetoolsofignorance - May 15, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    As a matter of fact, I asked the cat and the dog the same questions last night (couldn’t ask the wife, even though she was there- was snoring gently in her arm chair just daring me to dab a little shaving cream in the palm of her hand and tickle her nose) and they both agreed that Drew Butera is wasted as a hitter and a catcher with the bullpen in such a shambolic state. He’s got 2 pitches. I saw a + fastball with lots of natural movement and a 12-6 curve that falls off the table. If he has any semblance of a change up I’d demand he started.

    I have this dream that one day I’ll be at Chavez sitting in the stands and, like Butera getting called in to pitch, Mattingly will point to me in the stands and say “Here’s a glove & here’s a brand new baseball, Joe. Get this guy out for me, will you?” Then I wake up all happy and planning my pitch selection, try to get up and remember that I am long past the age where throwing baseballs is something I can do at any competitive level whatsoever. Drew Butera isn’t dreaming. He can actually do it. I wish he’d go for it.

    • Francisco (FC) - May 15, 2014 at 11:23 AM

      As a matter of fact, I asked the cat and the dog the same questions last night (couldn’t ask the wife, even though she was there- was snoring gently in her arm chair just daring me to dab a little shaving cream in the palm of her hand and tickle her nose) and they both agreed that Drew Butera is wasted as a hitter and a catcher with the bullpen in such a shambolic state.

      Man, you must have been so wasted last night to have that three way conversation.

      • deepstblu - May 15, 2014 at 12:11 PM

        “I saw someone under my kitchen table
        Talking to my old tom cat
        They were talking ’bout hockey
        The cat was talking back
        Long about then everything went black–
        Wasn’t that a party?”
        –Tom Paxton via The (Irish) Rovers

      • thetoolsofignorance - May 15, 2014 at 5:26 PM

        Gentlemen if you do not engage your spouse in mild horseplay and gentle teasing then I dare say you are missing out. No alcohol needed, just a sense of humor and a partner who can take a little joke. My finest moment in the annals of teasing my wife came in our 6th year together. We were living in Arizona and it was hot. She was mid lecture of me as she poured herself a big glass of ice water. I had allowed her sheltie, Bones McCoy, to engage in a little recreational love on a guest’s leg the previous night and she was telling me that is wasn’t funny since she needed this person to donate to the tennis club’s youth lesson charity. As she went to refill the water jug, her back to me, I drank her water. Every last drop. Quietly. It made me feel a little sick to drink that much water that fast but I did it. She returned to her glass, still pointing out what a lout I was and attempted to take a sip of water. Raised the glass, tilted it, tilted it a little more, tilted it completely up, then actually shook it, like the water had got stuck, her face a welter of confusion, hurt, a touch of loss, mixed with a lot of “what the hell?” She cottoned on when I drifted below the bar level, giggling helplessly. It still makes me laugh to this very day. Of course when she found out what I’d done I had to get her a new glass of water, which she refused, apologise profusely for being a lout, which she ignored, and eventually write a long and grovelling love note about how love should conquer low urges like glass of water theft. We laugh about it now, of course. well, I laugh. She sighs heavily and reminds me of all the men she’d turned down to end up with me. Shaving cream in the palm is nothing compared to that

    • bigdicktater - May 15, 2014 at 12:47 PM

      Shaving cream and a tickle for the old lady? Could you please post a video of that for the rest of us? Thank you SIR!

      • thetoolsofignorance - May 15, 2014 at 5:03 PM

        Now, now. These little moments are what keep long relationships lively and fun. They are not for public consumption. Besides, her retaliations are more inventive and involved than mine and I can’t stand the living in apprehension waiting for the hammer to fall so I left her alone to enjoy her evening nap. Next time I might go for it though. After a nice single malt and maybe a cigar, a man is moved to certain exuberances even is they might result in all his clothes being pink for a week.

  6. apkyletexas - May 15, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    Or maybe with the game out of hand and the Dodgers not even trying to play at a MLB level, the Marlins batters weren’t terribly interested by the 9th?

  7. Old Gator - May 15, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    This morning, Butera reported soreness in his right elbow….

  8. notsofast10 - May 15, 2014 at 10:38 AM

    It would have been fun to watch on TV! Thanks Time Warner for holding the Dodgers and asking for a huge ransom!

    • mkprz - May 15, 2014 at 3:33 PM

      Ransom? That’s only when you want someone back and alive.
      It won’t be long when Dodgers fans will be grateful they never had Time Warner.
      I almost bought Time Warner’s sports package.
      I almost bought season tickets.
      I almost bought a new Dodgers jersey.
      Lucky I waited.

  9. blacksables - May 15, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    He had a grand total of 0 pitches thrown this year, and then threw 11 last night. That’s like infinity more then he previously thrown. How come no one is calling Don Mattingly an idiot for ruining his arm?

  10. doctornature - May 15, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    Their freakin’ closer was a pitcher…so it’s not like they haven’t kicked it around in meetings.

    Time to do more than kick it around.

    Time for Kenley 2.0

    • doctornature - May 15, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      “Closer was a catcher”

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