Mike Scioscia has been the Angels' manager since the 2000 season, and not once has he used a position player to pitch in a blowout, a move teams frequently turn to as a means to conserve a bullpen.
But he recently came close.
When Huston Street took the mound in the ninth inning of what ended up being a 12-5 blowout loss to the Blue Jays on Sunday, infielder Ryan Jackson began to warm up just in case the inning prolonged. The Angels' bullpen had absorbed an astonishing 20 2/3 innings over a three-game stretch, and Scioscia couldn't extend them any further, even with an off-day coming up.
Scioscia said it's the first time he had gone so far as to have a position player warm up in the bullpen, though he added: "We've had 'head's up' before." Street gave up back-to-back hits to start that inning, but alas, he got a double-play ball and another groundout to escape with only 19 pitches.
Scioscia's streak was 10 or so pitches away from coming to an end.
"It's not a comfortable decision to make," Scioscia said, "but when it's necessary, it's necessary."
The Angels are one of just three teams that haven't had a position player pitch over these last 16 years, the others being the Braves and Giants. The last position player to pitch for the Angels was Chili Davis, in an 18-2 blowout loss to the Rangers on June 17, 1993.
"Part of it going to be just how the chips fall in," Scioscia said. "We haven't had to do it, but I don't think it's any source of pride at all. If you need to do it to save a pitcher, you do it. But a lot of [position players] think they can pitch, and the guys who end up going out there thinking they can pitch and they throw 25, 30 pitches, it's a little different than you think. You saw [Jose] Canseco do it and have Tommy John surgery, you saw some guys do it and have to be shut down from playing. You have to be sensitive to it."
Scioscia isn't necessarily opposed to the strategy.
"You do what you have to do," he said. "But I don't think anybody's ever comfortable doing that."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.