On Tuesday the San Diego Padres were destroyed by the Seattle Mariners by the score of 16-0 through the first five innings. James Shields was the victim of a two-out rally in the second inning that resulted in six Mariners runs in the inning. Things failed to get better and Shields was credited with 10 earned runs in 2.2 innings of work.
The bullpen would be needed and Luis Perdomo was the first to get the call. He would go two innings allowing six earned runs. Thankfully Leonel Campos threw two and a third shutout innings but he was gassed after 45 pitches and someone needed to pitch the bottom of the eighth inning.
Whom did Andy Green and the San Diego Padres call to throw? None other than Christian Bethancourt. The team has truly fallen in love with this young backstop. He is getting more and more playing time behind the dish these days with Derek Norris struggling. He is also getting worked in the outfield, third base and first base. In fact Bethancourt spent some time in left field during the Padres blowout loss Tuesday.
Bethancourt has a rocket arm, that is not a secret. Having him toe the rubber was fun to see but is that really what is best for the team? Usually you put in veteran position players that throws “junk” in a situation like this. I hardly blame the team for looking for outside forces to rest an already taxed bullpen. However they had to know Bethancourt would be out there with the intent of striking every batter out.
He attempted that topping out at 95 mph on some radar guns. He also threw an ephus pitch in the high 60’s. The change in velocity was effective as he recorded two outs without allowing a run. The catcher has an impressive arm but shouldn’t be put in that situation. He could very well be the catcher of the future for the Padres.
Christian Bethancourt is not a pitcher and doesn’t train his arm and body for the rigors of the pitching motion. That cannot be stressed enough. Thankfully Bethancourt was pulled after hitting Seth Smith with an off speed pitch in the eighth. Still seeing him out on the mound was more scary than fun.
Throwing 26 pitches on the night, Bethancourt will be sore for a few days. He should be rested on Wednesday and the team should monitor his arm. There will probably be no issues with his major league debut on the mound, but I can think of way more negatives to him throwing than positives.