Last week, Los Angeles Angels catcher Francisco Arcia had quite a day. He started the game behind the plate, put in a couple of innings on the mound, and ended the day in the history books.
In a 21-3 blowout loss to the Oakland A’s, Arcia caught and pitched in the same game. That didn’t make history. He made history when we homered off Chris Hatcher in the 9th inning, becoming the first player ever to catch, pitch, and hit a home run in the same game.
The 29-year-old rookie had set another record earlier in the season when he collected 10 RBIs in his first two major league games.
Against the A’s, after starting the game behind the plate, he came on to pitch the 7th and 8th innings of a game that was already well out of hand. Before tossing a scoreless frame in the 8th, Arcia surrendered back-to-back homers in the 7th, which actually also made him the first player ever to catch, pitch, hit a homer and give up a homer in the same MLB game.
“I just play hard,” Arcia said after his feat. “Wherever they put me, I’ll play hard.”
Arcia had pitched a scoreless inning earlier in the season, the first position player to pitch for the Angels in 25 years.
This has been the season of the position player pitcher, however. By July, a season record 41 position players had taken the mound in a game for their teams. By the time the season ends in two weeks, that number will likely exceed 50.
With the increasing specialization of relievers, teams now will often use position players to eat up innings late in games that are out of reach.
Which means Arcia’s feat may soon be matched. For the time being, he is alone in the record books.
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