While it's rare to see a position player given a chance to pitch, it's even rarer to see a pitcher temporarily playing the part of a position player. But that's what happened at Turner Field on Thursday night, when Braves manager Bobby Cox needed a 10th-inning solution against the left-handed hitting LaRoche.
Cox opted to move Chris Resop to left field while left-handed specialist Royce Ring recorded a strikeout of LaRoche. Then with the right-handed Xavier Nady coming to the plate, an unsuspecting Resop was brought back to the mound to finish the inning he had started.
"I didn't know I was going back on the mound," said Resop, who was stunned when Gregor Blanco, on his way to assume his position in left field, provided him with his pitcher's glove.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this marked the first time since 1990 that a pitcher began an inning on the mound, moved to a position and then ended the inning as the pitcher. In 1993, Seattle's Jeff Nelson began an inning as a pitcher, moved to the outfield and then began the next inning back on the mound.
But not since then had such a switch been made. This didn't come as a complete surprise to Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell, who estimates he did something like this four times in his career.
"There's always going to be some scrutiny involved," said McDowell, while pointing out a pitcher could easily get injured or botch a ball in the outfield.
Knowing the risks, McDowell reminded Cox that Resop began his career as a position player. At the same time, the veteran skipper knew any ball LaRoche hit against the light throwing Ring would be pulled to the right side.
In addition, Cox was giving Peter Moylan the night off and didn't have any more available relievers. Had he not given up the winning hit to Nady, Resop was going to pitch until the game was complete.
"If it went 18 innings, he had to go another eight [innings]," Cox said. "That's just the way it was."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.