When a pitcher gets an assist on purpose, it is because he scooped up a bunt grounder. The position of pitcher is technically defensive. Most of the time the ball is coming back at the pitcher so quickly, the pitcher seems to catch the ball in what can only be described, not as a defensive play, but as an act of self-defense. Some fans believe that a pitcher should never field their position. The reason given is the pitcher may at best hamper the proper fielders from cleanly fielding the ball or at worst injure themselves. Unlike the rest of the fielders, the pitcher's mission is to get the batter out before he leaves home plate. As a result, few good plays get assigned to the pitcher.
From time to time, the pitcher does field a ball on purpose, in a way worthy of note as a good play. On May, 7, 2013, in a game against the Fightin' Phils, Anthony Ranaudo (P) did just that. Ranaudo had racked up five strikeouts in as many innings and had one assist in the third inning already. Ranaudo started the sixth inning against Zach Collier (LF) who hit a soft pop-up to Derrik Gibson (SS) for an easy out. Ranaudo had thrown 72 pitches before the next batter, Tyler Henson (3B), came to the plate.
The first pitch to Henson was a called strike. The second was called a ball low. On the next pitch, Henson smacked a hard bouncing grounder sending it straight up the middle over Ranaudo's head, or so Henson thought. The 6’7” Ranaudo reached up and snagged the ball before tossing it softly to Matt Spring (1B) for the out, making it look like something he does every day.
The Sea Dogs open at home against the New Britain Rock Cats on Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. Remember to bring your glove, and I'll see you at Hadlock.