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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, April 24, 2014

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Why waving the white flag isn't so bad

Think of your least favorite task.

Maybe it's filing TPS reports at work. It might be meeting with a boring client that never knows when a meeting is supposed to end. Perhaps it's talking to a supervisor with severe halitosis. At home, it could be cleaning the cat's litter box, pulling weeds from the garden of filing your income taxes.

Imagine your disdain for that task, and then multiply it by a factor about about 50.

That should give you an idea of what Ken Macha went through last night.

The Brewers manager hates, hates, hates the notion of using non-pitchers to pitch. He considers it an embarrassment for his team and -- on some level -- disrespectful to the paying customers.

He would rather use a pliers to pull out one of his own molars at home plate than allow a non-pitcher to take the mound as Joe Inglett did during a 12-4 loss to Cincinnati Tuesday night at Miller Park.

"It's really the first time I've ever used a position player, even when I managed in the minor leagues," Macha said. "It was interesting. He was throwing 51 [mph] and got them out."

Inglett, the first Brewers position player to pitch in a game since Trent Durrington on April 17, 2004 against Houston, didn't want to talk about his adventure afterward.

His outing became necessary when starter Yovani Gallardo exited after 2 2/3 innings. Macha used Todd Coffey to close out the third, pitched Chris Capuano for three innings, got an inning out of David Riske and Trevor Hoffman before sending Inglett to the hill.

The Brewers, who are playing their 14th game in 14 days today, had four pitchers in the bullpen -- Kameron Loe, John Axford, Carlos Villanueva and Zach Braddock, but none were available for various reasons.

As tough as it may have been for Macha to use Inglett, the spectacle of a non-pitcher pawing at the dirt and flipping 50-mph pitches to the plate in a 1-2-3 inning added a little levity to an otherwise unenjoyable night at the ballpark.

I know managers hate doing it, but I've always enjoyed seeing position players pitch. Heck, they all work on their "stuff" while playing catch in the hours before the game. They all wonder what it's like. Inglett will now go into the baseball register with a scoreless inning on his record.

That's pretty cool.

Though I don't advocate doing it a lot -- for fear of injury and the simple notion that getting blown out / running out of pitching isn't good for business -- I think it's OK for teams to save an inning here or there by using a position player.

In terms of clubhouse morale, it takes a bit of the sting out of a blowout loss and gives the fans -- the diehards who stayed with that snoozefest to the end -- something to chuckle about.

In the absence of a victory or even a competitive contest, that's not a bad substitute. 

Talkbacks

KProchnow | July 28, 2010 at 11:10 a.m. (report)

I've never understood why a team can't just concede. You're behind 12-4 and you have no pitchers left? Walk over to the opposing manager, shake his hand and go get a shower! Why take a chance on somebody valuable getting hurt running into the outfield wall or sliding or something? It's not like any customers that are left are getting any value at that point. Maybe give them half their ticket price back and everybody go home.

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