Geovany Soto wanted Alexei Ramirez to throw a pitch inside Tuesday night to Josh Phegley but the White Sox shortstop had other ideas.
Even though it was the first pitching appearance of his career, Ramirez knows about Phegley’s pull power and wanted no part of the plan. Ramirez instead shook off Soto, stayed away and ultimately got Phegley to fly out to end a 12-pitch at-bat that provided a much-needed light moment for the White Sox in a 17-6 loss to the Oakland A’s at U.S. Cellular Field.
Along with Leury Garcia, Ramirez was one of two position players who pitched for the White Sox in a game for only the second time in franchise history, according to Elias Sports Bureau. The previous instance occurred Sept. 28, 1902 when Frank Isbell and Sam Mertes performed the feat.
“I wanted to pitch him outside,” Ramirez said through an interpreter. “It was a very good at-bat for (Phegley). It was a very good fight for me. I pitched him very well. I tried to throw some offspeed pitches and get him off-balance. He fought and at the end, I got the result. But it was good. It was very fun at-bat and I enjoyed it. I tried to do my best in that at-bat.”
Ramirez threw everything to try and get his former teammate Phegley out in the ninth inning.
In a span of 12 pitches, Ramirez threw a slider, fastball, changeup, curveball, knuckleball and cut-fastball to Phegley, according to MLB.com. He shook off Soto on a 3-2 pitch, one of five straight fouled off by Phegley, before he got the fly ball.
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Ramirez would have preferred not to be on the poor end of a blowout but volunteered to pitch if the White Sox needed it. They did as the bullpen was short-handed after Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija made short starts in two of the previous three games with a 14-inning contest sandwiched in between.
Garcia, who also pitched in 2014, pitched a scoreless eighth.
“It wasn’t the ideal situation for the team,” Ramirez said. “But because of the score and the situation, I just talked with Robin (Ventura) and said, ‘Hey, if you need someone to pitch, I can do it.’ Yeah, I enjoyed it. It was very special. I have to thank him for the opportunity. It was something that I always liked to do and I could do it today. I enjoyed it.”