Pirates pitch position players Jose Osuna, Jacob Stallings to save bullpen
When Jose Osuna was a 15-year-old prospect in Venezuela, he was a pitcher of some note.
So, when the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 14-8 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals was getting out of hand Wednesday night and Clint Hurdle was looking to save his bullpen some unnecessary wear and tear, someone remembered Osuna’s background.
He got the call.
Osuna, who had never pitched in the majors or minors, worked the seventh and eighth innings, facing seven batters, using four different pitches and allowing only a single by Yairo Munoz, Paul DeJong’s third homer of the night and no other runs. At one point, one of his pitches reached 94 mph.
Before Wednesday, Osuna hadn’t toed the rubber since 2008, a year before he signed with the Pirates.
“I was supposed to sign as a pitcher,” he said. “A couple months after I started losing my speed, I got myself ready to be a hitter.
”I can’t say I missed it, but it’s something you want to try again and see what I got.
“I wanted a third inning and they said, ‘No.’ “
At that point, Hurdle called on catcher Jacob Stallings, who needed only seven pitches to retire the Cardinals in order in the ninth.
“I’m just glad we had two guys who were willing to do what they needed to do to help our team and keep our bullpen intact for (Thursday),” Hurdle said.
“That was probably more than I expected. I was just hoping he’d get through it and it would be somewhat professional and, all right, he did way above and beyond.
“Both of them handled themselves very professionally, not an easy situation.”
But Hurdle hopes Osuna’s pitching career ends after one game — for obvious reasons.
“He might want to do it again. I really don’t want to see it again,” he said. “Knowing I got in my pocket if we need it, that’s OK.”
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .