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Christian Bethancourt makes Padres roster as both pitcher and position player

It’s hard to reach the major leagues at all, but it’s almost unheard of to make it at two positions. But to make it at three spots, that is simply unheard of, especially when one of those spots is as a pitcher.

San Diego's Christian Bethancourt made the Padres roster announced Sunday, which was to be expected.


What came as a surprise was to see where he made the team. According to ESPN, the Padres are planning to use the former Top 100 prospect as a catcher, outfielder and as a relief pitcher.

Several MLB players have made the majors as both a pitcher and a position players. Rick Ankiel is probably the most notable, but other players such as Don Kelly formerly of the Detroit Tigers have done it as well.

But to see a player being listed as both a pitcher and a position player simultaneously has rarely ever happened in the modern era.

But Bethancourt will be attempting to do just that.

"He gives us a flexibility that no other bullpen arm can do, which is pinch-hit capabilities and cover the field capability," Padres manager Andy Green told reporters Saturday.

He will primarily be used as a pitcher to start out with but could slip into other positions if necessary in time.

As a minor leaguer Bethancourt was the No. 82 catcher prospect in 2014, according to MLB.com.

He batted .275 with 38 home runs while driving in 281 runs in 591 minor-league games. He hit .223 in 462 at-bats as a major leaguer.

Bethancourt has pitched 1.2 innings as a major leaguer, all with the Padres, who open the season Monday at Dodger Stadium. He had pitched zero professional innings coming into 2016.

In eight appearances as a pitcher in spring training this year Bethancourt posted a 2.16 ERA in 8.1 innings. He struck out three and walked four.

He batted .077 in 13 at bats with one home run and one RBI.

"This is an opportunity to do something nobody else in the game does, catch and pitch," Green said in a February interview with USA Today. "It’s almost like that Little League mentality, ‘Hey, I’ll do whatever. I just want to help the team win.'"

Also of note, another former position player in Anthony Gose of the Detroit Tigers is attempting to convert to a pitcher this season as well. He could possibly do the same thing as Bethancourt in being both a pitcher and a position player simultaneously.

Gose is a .240 career hitter, but has been working on pitching in recent weeks.


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