Shohei Ohtani currently is Major League Baseball’s only two-way player, but Alex Verdugo hopes to join the Los Angeles Angels phenom at some point down in the road in his career.
Verdugo was a pitcher in high school — and a pretty good one, at that — but had to put those hurler dreams on the backburner as he shifted toward the big leagues.
The 25-year-old hasn’t given up hope of one day returning to the mound, however.
“…I definitely could, I feel like I could pitch,” Verdugo said on “The Chris Rose Rotation,” as transcribed by WEEI. “I wouldn’t want to be a starter. I would probably want to play the outfield, do what I do, and come in in the eighth or ninth, or come in to get a tough out or something like that. That would be cool. But those dreams, that would be like two, three years away. I would have to build up that arm strength again, I would have to do a lot of throwing programs and try to get the arm going again.
“I want to, at some point, I really do want to… I want to start in my offseasons. I’m going to start really incorporating a throwing program and taking care of my arm better, kind of how I did when I was a two-way, because my arm felt a lot better for outfield throws and everything, so I know it’s going to benefit me to get my throws even harder than what I’m at right now.”
Of course, position players taking the mound isn’t at all uncommon. It’s a tactic managers often will turn to when the game is out of hand in order to avoid using an actual pitcher.
So, what would Verdugo’s plan of attack be if his number was called this season?
“If I got on the bump this year, I would just throw knuckles and maybe sneak in a hard one,” Verdugo said. “Yeah, I have a knuckle. I’m not a knuckleballer, but yeah, if I pitched in a few years, I will feature a knuckleball.”
Verdugo coming into pitch obviously would mean the Red Sox are in the midst of a less-than-stellar situation. But we have to imagine Boston fans are curious about what that knuckler looks like.