Hall pitches in, tosses 1-2-3 ninth
Ex-high school hurler helps Boston's 'pen in loss to KC
BOSTON -- One of the reasons the Red Sox traded for Bill Hall in the offseason was because of his versatility. He can play middle infield, third base and all three outfield spots. However, they never envisioned him as a pitcher.
But amid a 12-5 loss to the Royals on Friday night, that's exactly what Hall became. In an effort to preserve the bullpen for the rest of the weekend, Red Sox manager Terry Francona called on Hall to work the ninth, and the right-hander actually looked like a pitcher, reeling off a 1-2-3 frame.
Hall, whose fastball topped out at 89 mph, threw 11 pitches, seven of them for strikes. He induced three straight groundouts.
It took 898 Major League games, but Hall finally got to pitch.
"I felt good," said Hall. "I hadn't pitched since high school. It was just something, if I ever got the chance, I always wanted to just to see if I still had it. I almost got drafted as a pitcher in high school. I threw pretty hard, so it was fun to get back out there."
Rest assured, Hall said he could have thrown the ball in the 90s, but he didn't want to risk injury.
"They told me not to turn it loose," Hall said. "I threw hard, around 95, in high school. They wouldn't let me turn it loose or throw a curveball. I've got a pretty good curveball, too, but obviously you don't want to get hurt in one of those situations. Something happens tomorrow and I have to play shortstop ... if I'm hurt, obviously that couldn't happen."
Hall's performance was one of few positives for the Red Sox on an otherwise frustrating night.
"He's some kind of athlete to be able to do that," Francona said. "I thought I saw the reincarnation of Mike Jackson warming up -- one of my old roommates. Same delivery and everything."
It was the second time Francona has called on a position player to pitch this season. Outfielder Jonathan Van Every, who was recently designated for assignment, worked an inning on May 8 against the Yankees, giving up a mammoth home run to Mark Teixeira.
While Hall pitched much better than Van Every, he's not about to quit his day job.
"I'm not that good," said Hall. "I'll leave it up to those guys on the pitching staff. There comes a time when you're going to have to help your team out and save the bullpen a little bit. Hopefully we'll come out with the saved bullpen [Saturday], and we still have [Daniel] Bard and [Jonathan] Papelbon and all these guys who can come in and help us if we need them."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.