Mitch Maier is a member of the Kansas City Royals who spends more time in the dugout than he does on the field. He's not very good, and manager Ned Yost doesn't use like to his bench much, anyway.
But last night the 29-year-old reserve outfielder was a trending topic on Twitter. Why? He came in to pitch in the eighth inning of the Tuesday night's game in Boston. The Royals were trailing 13-7 when Yost, sick of watching his pitching staff get beat around, said, "Screw it. I'm sending in a position player."
Maier pitched pretty well for a guy who isn't paid to do it. He faced four hitters, and only one reached base: David Ortiz hit a double to deep center.
Rookie Danny Duffy started the game for the Royals. He was gone before the end of the fourth inning, relieved by Nate Adcock, who had even less success against Boston's formidable lineup.
It's not often that a team trailing by "only" six runs will ask a position player to pitch. On Monday, the Minnesota Twins did not send infielder/outfielder Michael Cuddyer to the mound until they were trailing Texas by 15 runs. Yost, no doubt, was thinking about the 14-inning game the Royals and Red Sox played on Monday when he handed Maier the ball and asked him to do his best.
The irony of Maier's appearance is that the Royals are carrying 13 pitchers on the major-league roster -- baseball analysts say this is at least one too many. But even with all those arms, Yost needed guy who who is normally a fill-in outfielder to finish the game.
The NFL lockout ended just in time, didn't it?