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Bobby Kielty to Try Pitching

Bobby Kielty (Image from ProJo.com)

Once a key cog off the bench for the 2007 World Series Champion Red Sox, Bobby Kielty has had trouble finding work. Out of the league since 2007, Kielty will apparently try anything to revive his once-promising career. He apparently plans on pitching, and is dead serious.

He told MLBTradeRumors.com that he hopes to be a right-handed bat off the bench and to eat up some relief innings if necessary. Apparently, Kielty threw bullpen sessions last year for the Mets and has also thrown for the A’s. According to MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes via Twitter, Kielty’s slider “is pretty good.” Combine that with a fastball, and you have the makings of a potential major league reliever.

Past Success Stories

David McCarty

The last Red Sox player to pull the double-act (and not in a blowout) was David McCarty, who tossed 3.2 innings with one run allowed for a 2.45 ERA in 2004. That year, his last full year as a backup position player in the big leagues, McCarty hit .258 with four HRs and 17 RBI.

He never pitched before 2004, and retired after the 2005 season. But hey, he was a minor success.

Nick Green

Green, who recently signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers, took the mound for the Sox this past season, and was actually pretty effective. He allowed zero hits with three walks in two shutout innings of a 9-5 loss to the White Sox. He had a career-high 6 HRs with 36 RBIs and a .236 batting average in 103 games with the Sox in 2009.

Brooks Kieschnick

Kieschnick was the most successful hitter-turned-pitcher in recent memory, putting up a 4.59 ERA in 74 games in 2003 and 2004. In 2004, his last year in the majors, he had a 3.77 ERA in 32 games with the Brewers.

Offensively, he gave the Brewers a solid left-handed bat off the bench. In 2003, he hit 7 HRs with 12 RBI and a .300 average inĀ  just 70 at bats, and added one HR and seven RBI with a .270 average in 2004.

Of course, he has not played since 2004.

Rick Ankiel

Ankiel did the reverse, moving from a top-flight pitcher to a pretty solid outfielder. He went 11-7 with a 3.50 ERA in 30 starts in 2000, but then forgot how to pitch in the playoffs and never was the same. After returning to pitch in 2004, albeit unsuccessfully, Ankiel moved to the Cardinals outfield in 2007, and hit 11 HRs with 39 RBI in just 47 games.

In his first full year in 2008, Ankiel launched 25 HRs with 71 RBI in 120 games. After a down year in 2009, he signed a contract as a free agent with the Royals.

Mike Hampton

OK, so now that I’m stretching the rules a bit to include Ankiel, I can’t leave out Mike Hampton, who has been successful as a hitting pitcher for many years in the majors. A longtime starter, Hampton has 148-115 record with a 4.07 ERA 409 career games (355 starts). He missed all of 2006 and 2007 with injuries, but returned to be a moderately effective starter with the Braves in 2008 and the Astros in 2009.

As a hitter, Hampton is often considered the best hitting pitcher of our generation (along with Livan Hernandez). A career .246 hitter, Hampton has compiled 16 HRs and 79 RBI. His best year at the plate came in 2001, when he hit .291 with 7 HR and 16 RBI.

Babe Ruth, and every other stud hitter/pitcher that played before 1960

Duh. Baseball was a very different game back then. There were plenty of good hitter/pitchers, especially the best one of all time in Babe Ruth.

Final Thoughts

I wish Kielty luck, because everyone deserves to make another couple million dollars as long as they earn it. If he earns it by pitching, then so be it…just as long as he doesn’t crash and burn like Jose Canseco, who infamously blew out his arm pitching for the Rangers against the Red Sox in 1993.

About KC Downey - @kc_downey

KC is the "head coach" of the Sports of Boston, LLC blog network. Follow him on Twitter: @kc_downey

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