Dean Anna gets the call to the mound for 8th inning
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Yankees' pitching struggles on back-to-back nights got bad enough Saturday night that rookie shortstop Dean Anna found himself talking to manager Joe Girardi about getting the final three outs in a 16-1 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field.
"When you see me in there, it's not a good day," said Anna, the fourth Yankees pitcher of the game and the 10th in two nights, helping save other bullpen arms for Sunday's series finale. "I guess I did my job. It was fun, but not fun at all."
Anna, a 5-11 infielder, said he had not pitched at any level since summer ball when he was maybe 11 years old -- not in high school, in junior college, at Ball State or in six years in the minors. He took the mound with one specific order from Girardi: Do not throw hard enough to risk injury.
"It's not a great situation to be in as a manager, because you don't want to ever get a position player hurt," Girardi said. "I talked to him and I said, 'Look, I don't want to come out and yell at you if you're throwing too hard. I want you to lob it in there. Do not hurt your arm. Just play catch.' He did a really good job of doing that."
To that end, Anna followed directions. His first pitch, a called strike to first baseman James Loney, was clocked at 66 mph. The next was at 60. Others weren't even picked up by the stadium's radar gun. He said he was told he topped out at 72 and estimated he could throw 85 if he really put his arm into it.
Anna gave up a single to Loney and a double to outfielder Wil Myers -- who had two home runs off professional pitchers earlier in the game -- but then got Sean Rodriguez to pop out to short and Logan Forsythe to line out to leftfield.
One out away from a scoreless eighth, Anna gave up a two-run single to Ryan Hanigan, who also had two home runs.
The Yankees gave up 27 runs and 32 hits in their last two losses, but Anna had the small consolation of finishing the outing with a pop to third by David DeJesus, who extended his slump to 0-for-23.
Anna, whose own batting average dropped to .136, joins an elite fraternity of Yankees position players to make a cameo as pitchers. Shortstop Alberto Gonzalez recorded one out in a loss to Seattle last year and outfielder DeWayne Wise got two outs against the White Sox in 2012. Other memorable Yankees to moonlight on the mound include Nick Swisher, Wade Boggs, Rocky Colavito (who picked up a win!) and Gene Michael.