From Ronald Blum at the Associated Press on July 14, 2016:
Mark Melancon thought back to 2010 or ’11, when he was with the Houston Astros.
“Brad Mills came up to me before a game and said, ‘Hey, there’s a situation tonight where we might put you in left field for a hitter, so go take some fly balls,'” the reliever recalled his manager telling him. “I said, ‘You’re joking, right?'”
Melancon never made it out there, not with the Astros then or with the Pirates now. But Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon gained attention June 28 when left-hander Travis Wood and right-hander Spencer Patton alternated between left field and the mound in the 14th inning against Cincinnati, and Wood got the final three outs of a 7-2, 15-inning win with right-hander Pedro Strop in left field.
The moves were made of necessity, not Mad-ness. Might he employ the Maddon Medley with premeditation?
“You should show more creativity,” he said. “Everybody’s afraid of injury all the time. God, man, drive a car in Manhattan — you want to be afraid of injury, just walk down the street.”
Maddon didn’t invent the strategy. As Philippe Cousineau pointed out in the Society for American Baseball Research’s Fall 2011 journal, the strategy was employed by the New York Mets’ Davey Johnson with lefty Jesse Orosco and righty Roger McDowell against the Reds on July 22, 1986, and by the Cubs’ Lou Piniella with lefty Sean Marshall and righty Aaron Heilman against St. Louis on July 12, 2009.
- Related link: “Pitchers in the Field: The Use of Pitchers at Other Positions in the Major Leagues, 1969–2009,” by Philippe Cousineau
Originally published: July 14, 2016. Last Updated: July 14, 2016.