Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez joked after Washington signed Brock Holt in late August that he would have to get the 32-year-old utility man on the mound at some point since Holt had taken the field in every position but pitcher and catcher in his nine-year career.
“We’re going to try to get him to pitch, obviously he wants to ... no,” Martinez said.
But as he watched Aaron Barrett, (who apparently had some tightness in his triceps, and was having a hard time with his landing spot in Marlins Park), struggle to throw strikes, Martinez walked over in the dugout to ask if Holt would be willing to take the hill.
“I said, ‘If this game gets out of hand, just get ready to pitch,” Martinez explained, after what ended up a 14-3 loss to Miami. “So he was warming up already.
“We had no idea until I saw Barrett out there and I thought there was something was wrong. We went out there, and [Holt] was already loose. So that was kind of nice.”
“It was just kind of quick,” Holt said. “He came up to me and asked if I would be willing to pitch if things got out of hand, and I said, ‘Yes.’
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while, just never really had the opportunity.
“Unfortunately, not a situation you want to be in, but it’s kind of cool as a position player to get on the mound and pitch. So I can check that one off the list, but unfortunately it was a tough loss for us.”
BRIAN ANDERSON. WITH. THE. HAAATTYYYY. pic.twitter.com/Qa4Coekwgq— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) September 19, 2020
“I wasn’t going to use those other guys down there knowing that we’ve got so many games coming up,” Martinez said of his taxed relief corps.
“He did great. He pumped strikes. When you come in the game as a position player like that, he threw  strikes, five balls. That’s pretty impressive.”
Baseballsavant.com had Holt throwing 19 curveballs and two changeups. His breaking ball averaged 71.6 MPH and topped out at 77 MPH. His changeup came in at 80.9 MPH. But his breaking ball looked ... okay-ish?
“Yeah, well, I didn’t throw one single curveball, but it kept saying it up on the board,” Holt sort-of joked. “I kept looking up there, and I tried throw a little bit harder to see if they’d at least put ‘Fastball’ up there, but they didn’t.”
They did register the changeups though.
“Did they? Well alright, that works, that works,” Holt said in a McConaughey-ish drawl.
He came on with two on and no one out in the bottom of the sixth and gave up a three-run blast on a 1-2 curveball to Marlins’ third baseman Brian Anderson, whose third home run of the game put the Fish up 13-3. Chad Wallach hit an RBI double later in the inning to drive in the 14th run for the home team.
“I felt good, pounding the zone, just didn’t have a put-away pitch tonight,” Holt said in what seemed like a deadpan delivery.
“I had Anderson right where I wanted there, and just leaked one back over the middle and was a hot hitter with two home runs already, and you can’t make mistakes like that to a guy that’s already hit two home runs. So, but no, that’s something that as a position player, that it’s not a situation you want to be in but it’s kind of cool to say that you’ve done it.”
So ... is he going to get behind the plate at some point now?
“I asked him, ‘I guess I’m going to have to get you in to catch now?’” Martinez said. “That’s the only position he hasn’t played. He said he’ll skip that one.”
“Davey asked me that,” Holt confirmed.
“Because pitcher and catcher are the only two that I haven’t played yet, and he asked me that, but catcher is probably the one position that I won’t lose any sleep over if I don’t get behind the plate. It’s a tough position. I don’t envy anyone who plays that position, so I’m not going to lobby to get behind the plate, that’s for sure.”