The Texas Rangers were getting beat by the Boston Red Sox so badly on Tuesday night, manager Ron Washington decided to spare his pitchers and let a position player hurl an inning during their 17-5 loss. That player was outfielder David Murphy, who turned out to have more success than any of Texas’ pitchers.
Murphy, who last pitched in high school, per MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan, was the only Texas pitcher to throw an inning without allowing a run (Jason Frasor allowed an inherited runner to score and was not charged with it). Murphy allowed a leadoff double to Daniel Nava, but then sat down the next three batters in a row, including Mike Carp who was 3-for-3 with a home run, and big hitters Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz.
According to Sullivan, Murphy’s repertoire included a fastball clocked between 75-79 mph, and a knuckleball. He did not break 80 mph on any pitch, but he threw 12 of his 20 pitches for strikes.
Murphy even struck out Carp looking on a 67-mph pitch (it looked like a curveball but Sullivan said it was a knuckler). He was so impressed with himself — and embarrassed — that he couldn’t stop grinning. Carp didn’t think it was all that funny; he was ejected for arguing with the umpire about the call.
Sullivan says this was the sixth time the Rangers had a position player pitch for them. The last time occurred last year but, perhaps the most memorable was Jose Canseco throwing an inning at Fenway Park in 1993 and tearing a ligament in his elbow, which required season-ending surgery.
“I wasn’t trying to mess around,” Murphy said after the game, per Sullivan. “My arm is definitely not in condition to pitch, and I didn’t want to do anything silly or anything I would have regretted. I mean, it would have been fun to throw as hard as you can and light up the radar gun, but I wasn’t going to do that.”
Below is a video of Murphy’s full pitching highlights: