What began as an attempt at humor with his manager on Thursday resulted in Rob Brantly’s first time pitching since he played youth sports.
With Carlos Rodon a late scratch and the team short on arms, the White Sox catcher walked over to manager Rick Renteria and volunteered his services. Less than an inning later, Brantly was in the bullpen to test out his arm. And before the night was over, Brantly became the first White Sox catcher to ever pitch in a game as he threw an inning in an 11-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians.
“I jokingly went up to the skip and I was like ‘Hey, fresh arm today if you need it’ and I gave him a high five,” Brantly said. “Completely joking. And then like all of a sudden in the ninth inning, I’m standing on the mound of a Major League Baseball game. I haven’t thrown since forever, but yeah. It was fun to be in there and at least throw strikes.”
Mike Pelfrey pitched four innings in Rodon’s stead after he learned 20 minutes before the game he would make the start. But Pelfrey struggled early as the first four batters reached and he trailed 4-0 after Edwin Encarnacion’s homer. At that point, the possibility the White Sox would need a new solution resulted in Brantly headed to the bullpen.
“Rick told me, ‘Let’s find out if you can make it 60 feet, 6 inches first,’ ” Brantly said. “We went down there and he felt pretty confident that I could come in and throw strikes if the situation came up and you don’t want to be in that situations.”
Brantly bounced his first pitch but quickly settled in. He allowed a solo homer to Erik Gonzalez with one out in the ninth inning, but retired the next two. Included in the inning was a comebacker and a chance to cover first on a 3-1 ground out.
“I got tested today on both of them,” Brantly said. “The one where I covered first, that play is no joke. There are a lot of different things going on there. (Greg) Allen is a fast runner, he was barreling down for the knock and to catch the ball and find the bag at the same time, I have a whole new respect for pitchers and their PFPs.”