OAKLAND -- The Rangers will not have to make a roster move on Tuesday to reinforce their bullpen. Outfielder Craig Gentry prevented that by pitching the eighth inning in the Rangers' 12-1 loss to the A's on Monday.
Manager Ron Washington hates the idea of having to use a position player as a pitcher. But Washington felt it was necessary after the second short start in five games by one of his starting pitchers.
"We ended up saving four guys and we were able to get the guys that we used out of there quickly, so they'll be ready to go tomorrow," Washington said after Gentry became the fourth position player to be used as a pitcher in club history.
"If I'm out there you know it's not a good situation," Gentry said. "But it is kind of fun. I was nervous at first. I didn't want to hit anybody."
Gentry pitched one inning in college at the University of Arkansas. He pitched regularly in high school and could throw 92-93 mph. He was around 88 on Monday while working under strict orders from Washington and pitching coach Mike Maddux not to mess around.
Gentry was caught totally by surprise when Washington asked him in the top of the eighth if he could pitch.
"I had no idea," Gentry said. "He came up to me and asked me if I could get us through one inning. I got down there and tried to throw as many warmup pitches as I could. I didn't want to try and do anything except throw it easily down the middle. They told me not to hurt myself, no off-speed pitches. Just throw it down the middle."
Gentry allowed two runs on three hits and a walk while facing seven batters. Scott Feldman started the game and got knocked out in the second inning. He was followed by Robbie Ross for 2 1/3 innings, Mark Lowe for an inning and Yoshinori Tateyama for two innings.
The Rangers did not want to use another reliever, especially considering Derek Holland pitches on Tuesday and he was knocked out in the second inning in his last start. The Rangers do not need a shorthanded bullpen right now, and Gentry kept that from being the case.
"Anyway I can help out I will," Gentry said.
Shortstop Jeff Kunkel made two appearances as a pitcher for the Rangers in 1988, outfielder Jose Canseco blew out his elbow in a one-inning appearance against the Red Sox in 1993 and utility player Scott Sheldon pitched one-third of an inning in a game on Sept. 6, 2000, against the White Sox. Sheldon played all nine positions in that game.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.