Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 5/21/12
Last year it was outfielder Michael Cuddyer. This year, catcher Drew Butera became the next position player to pitch in relief for the Minnesota Twins. Butera was called upon to pitch in the eighth inning of Sunday's blowout loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. After starter Jason Marquis lasted just 1 23 innings, Minnesota's bullpen had a full day of work in store. Enter Butera, who came in as the Twins' sixth pitcher of the game. Butera didn't allow a hit, struck out a batter and walked one in his first career major league pitching appearance. When manager Ron Gardenhire called upon Butera, he delivered as he entered the game with the Twins trailing 16-2 in the eighth inning. "He just asked me if I'd ever pitched. I told him in high school," Butera said. "He said, 'Would you go out there?' I said 'yeah.' I'll do anything to help the team obviously. I never want to be in that situation because our team is down. Let's hope I never have to do it again." Butera retired the first batter he faced, Milwaukee's Edwin Maysonet, on one pitch as Maysonet grounded out to shortstop Brian Dozier. Butera then struck out former Twins outfielder Carlos Gomez on four pitches, getting him swinging for strike three on a 78 mph changeup. During the at-bat to Gomez, Butera reached 94 mph on the radar gun faster than some of the Twins pitchers have registered this season. So was Butera keeping an eye on the radar gun while on the mound? "I'd be lying if I said no. I checked," he said. "Not every pitch, but I checked." After striking out Gomez, Butera then walked George Kottaras on five pitches. But Butera got Nyjer Morgan to ground out to second base for the final out of a scoreless eighth inning. Butera's outing even impressed the opposing team. "I played against him in high school. He's always had a really good arm," said Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy. "When he got up there pumping 94, I was like 'You've got to be kidding me?' I was hoping I wouldn't get an AB because if he struck me out, I probably wouldn't hear the end of it." Butera became the sixth position player to pitch for the Twins. Cuddyer did so on July 25 of last season when he also pitched a scoreless inning against the Texas Rangers. The others were John Moses (in 1989 and twice in 1990), Dan Gladden in 1988-89, Cesar Tovar in 1968 and Julio Becquer in 1961. Butera, whose father, Sal, was also a catcher for the Twins, said he last pitched in high school. "It was always when my dad wasn't around. He was really strong on me not pitching to hurt my arm," Butera said. "He didn't want me throwing any breaking balls. I really haven't pitched that much. Just every once in a while when he wasn't around, I'd come in for an inning." Twins baffled by ejection call With second baseman Jamey Carroll batting in the top of the ninth inning Sunday, Milwaukee pitcher Tim Dillard was ejected by home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt when he threw behind Carroll. After the game, Minnesota wasn't quite sure what transpired in that ninth inning. "Lucroy told Jamey that they were throwing at him because we threw at Nyjer Morgan. I have no idea where that came from," Gardenhire said. "We were just trying to get out of that inning. We pretty much stunk up the field today. We didn't need to throw at anybody." Morgan was plunked by reliever Jeff Gray in the seventh inning. "I asked what it was all about. And what I heard Lucroy say was Nyjer Morgan and then Hunter made us shut up and said it's part of the game," Carroll said. "I have no idea. You'd have to ask them over there. If they're angry about something, they can be angry." Mauer heats up in Milwaukee While the Twins fell flat in Sunday's 16-4 loss, catcher Joe Mauer continued his hot series. Mauer went 3-for-5 on Friday with three RBI, two runs and two doubles. Mauer wasn't in the lineup Saturday just his second day off this season but he did enter the game as a pinch hitter. On Sunday, Mauer was 4-for-5 with a double and a run. He was the only Twins player to record more than one hit in Sunday's loss. After entering the series batting just .265, Mauer raised his average to .293 with his four-hit performance Sunday. He now has 11 doubles on the season. "He put some nice swings on the ball," Gardenhire said of Mauer. "A little break yesterday. You can see he's rejuvenated and he came out and put some nice swings on the ball. Unfortunately we were just in too deep of a hole." Hermsen is Minor League Player of the Week B.J. Hermsen, a right-hander at Double-A New Britain, was recently named the Twins' Minor League Player of the Week. The 22-year-old Hermsen made two starts this past week and was 2-0 with just one run allowed in 14 23 innings. In those two starts, Hermsen struck out five batters and did not issue a walk. Hermsen began the year with High-A Fort Myers but has now made four starts for New Britain. In eight starts combined between the two teams, Hermsen is 3-1 with a 1.76 ERA. FOXSportsWisconsin.com reporters Jesse Temple and Ryan Kartje contributed to this report. Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.
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