Monday, July 1, 2013

Mets backup catcher makes pitching debut in blowout loss

New York Mets backup catcher Anthony Recker had only one regret after his major-league debut on the mound Sunday.

"I wish I could have gotten ahead of somebody so I could have thrown some off-speed stuff," said Recker, who allowed two runs in the final inning of the Mets' 13-2 loss to the Washington Nationals.

Recker stuck with fastballs, topping out at 88 mph, after being asked to mop up for the bullpen with the Mets hopelessly behind in the ninth inning. The Nationals scored six runs off Brandon Lyon in the eighth to blow the game open.


That prompted manager Terry Collins to make Recker the first Mets position player to pitch since Rob Johnson on May 18, 2012.

"It was just funny," said Recker, who gave up a two-run homer to Ian Desmond before retiring the next three batters on flyouts. "I mean, it's different. I just tried to have fun with it basically. There's nothing else you can do."

Recker last pitched at Alvernia College (Reading, Pa.), where he experimented with a knuckleball. He didn't use it in the game but threw one in warm-ups, and it moved so much that it nearly struck catcher John Buck in the chin.

Buck said he's had plenty of experience catching position players. "Yeah, I played for the Royals, man," he said. "It was not my first blowout."

Recker would finish the game with three straight flyball outs and an 18.00 ERA.

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