Indians' Ryan Raburn Shows off Super-Sub Skills with Perfect Pitching Effort

Chris StephensCorrespondent IIMarch 21, 2017

A day after signing a two-year contract extension with the Cleveland Indians, Ryan Raburn celebrated by getting the first strikeout of his career.

While getting a strikeout is nothing new in baseball, it is noteworthy when the pitcher is normally a position player.

In Thursday's game against the Detroit Tigers, the Indiansalready down 10-2, called on Raburn (a former Tiger) to pitch the ninth inning in relief.

In the inning, Raburn struck out Matt Tuiasosopo with an 89 mph fastball, making one of the few highlights of the night for the Indians. For the record, he also got two groundouts.

Of course, the Twitter universe had some things to say about it:

Cleveland had already used three other bullpen arms and didn't want to burn any more after using six in Wednesday's game.

Yes, Cleveland has used its bullpen a lot lately, but bringing in Raburn is not all that bad. It reminds me of a few other position players who came on to pitch, including one of Raburn's current teammates:

That teammate was Nick Swisher, who pitched a scoreless inning for the New York Yankees in 2009. He also got one strikeout.

Versatility is never a bad thing, but I'm guessing like Swisher and Wilson Valdez, Raburn won't quit his gig of coming off the bench. Of course, some Cleveland fans might want him to, considering the bullpen has an ERA of 4.01.

It was a good inning for Raburn, but if Cleveland is going to come back in the division race, improvement is going to be needed all around on the mound.