Chicago White Sox fans who slogged through eight innings of awful baseball from the home team were given a late reward on Tuesday night: The chance to see Adam Dunn take the mound and pitch the ninth at U.S. Cellular Field.
Yes, you read that right. Dunn, the hulking slugger who stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 285 pounds, pitched the final frame for the White Sox in an otherwise forgettable 16-0 loss to the Texas Rangers. The odd relief effort drew plenty of excitement, not only from fans but also from the players in each dugout.
Dunn didn't get hammered, either, giving up only one run on two hits and a walk. He threw 22 total pitches with the fastest registering at 83 mph. Though he's apparently been lobbying his managers for many years to get the chance to pitch and appeared to be having fun once he did, the former high school hurler didn't want any attention after the game. Dunn ducked reporters before they could get a chance to interview him.
Plenty of other players involved in the strange sight were willing to weigh in, though.
"I haven't laughed on a baseball field like that in a long time, ever since I was probably kicking dandelions, in my early teens," White Sox teammate Adam Eaton said to reporters. "He had good sink, that's all I can say. He was 80 mph but he had really good sink."
"If he hit somebody, we can't charge the mound because he's too big," Beltre said.
Dunn has 457 career homers, which places him behind Alex Rodriguez (654) and Albert Pujols (513) on the active career leaders list. (Dunn is tied with David Ortiz.) In case you're wondering, he's not the hitter with the most career home runs to make a pitching appearance. According to Christoper Kamka of Comcast SportsNet, Babe Ruth took the mound when he had 686 homers to his name on Oct. 1, 1933. Jimmie Foxx also made an appearance on Sept. 17, 1945 with 534 homers at that point.
Kamka also notes Dunn is one of four players to serve as DH and make a pitching appearance in the same game. Chris Davis of the Baltmore Orioles last did it in 2012.
Dunn's pitching cameo also spruced up more than just the White Sox's worst loss at U.S. Cellular Field since the day the park opened in 1991 (a 16-0 loss to the Detroit Tigers). It also may have provided one of the last highlights for what has been a relatively disappointing tenure for Dunn in Chicago. The 34-year-old is in the final year of a four-year, $56 million contract and will be a free agent after the season.
No word on if his agent will sell teams on Dunn's new ability to come out of the bullpen.
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