Leury Garcia had never pitched before late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning.
Not once. Not even in youth baseball.
He got some pretty strong reviews even though he took the loss as the White Sox dropped a 6-4 decision to the Boston Red Sox in 14 innings at U.S. Cellular Field. Garcia allowed two runs, a hit and walked two in an inning.
“He’s got good stuff,” White Sox pitcher John Danks said. “I want him to teach me a sinker like that. He’s got a pretty good sinker. Surely it’s weird to be out there for the first time. I can only imagine having to play second base for the first time. It’s like a fish out of water, but I felt like he held his own.”
A utility infielder by trade, Garcia took over when the White Sox had used all of their pitchers. In innings seven through 13, seven White Sox relievers pitched, including Daniel Webb for three innings and Matt Lindstrom for two.
The White Sox had plenty of volunteers to take the mound but Garcia was on the bench, the only position player who hadn’t entered the game.
“That was awesome,” Garcia said. “I tried to throw a sinker and a four-seamer for strikes. … No, nobody showed me. It was like natural, you know?”
He got a pair of quick outs to start the 14th inning when Grady Sizemore grounded out to first base and A.J. Pierzynski flew out to right field as Garcia touched 88 mph on the radar gun. He ran into some command issues and walked Daniel Nava and Jonathan Herrera. After the second walk, White Sox manager Robin Ventura, who made one pitching appearance in his career in 2004, visited the mound. Ventura said he told Garcia to throw it slower and not to overthrow it.
Garcia fell behind Jackie Bradley Jr. 2-0 but worked the count full with two 77-mph pitches for called strikes. But Bradley ripped an 82-mph changeup down the right-field line to drive in the go-ahead runs.
“He was actually kind of funky, though,” Bradley Jr. said. “He was kind of throwing rise balls, so it was just one of those things where I wanted to make him throw strikes. He got behind 2-0 and ended up working his way back. Stay back, see it late and put a good swing on it."