Prior to the Los Angeles Dodgers officially placing Max Muncy on the 10-day injured list due to a right oblique strain, the team selected the contract of Andy Burns and optioned Mitch White to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
It marked Burns’ first time back in the Majors since appearing in 10 games for the Toronto Blue Jays during the 2016 season. The versatile infielder was immediately thrust into action by starting at second base for his Dodgers debut.
Burns began his night by having a hard-hit grounder skip off his glove for a leadoff single in the first inning. His first at-bat was a slow chopper that resulted in an infield single — the first hit of Burns’ career — and top off the ninth saw him pitching.
Burns took over for Nate Jones, who was in a second inning of work and had just surrendered a two-run home run. “It was more of trying to not put Nate in harm’s way,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts explained.
“I was hoping he could get through that one inning and throw up a quick and efficient ninth inning. It just wasn’t to be. We haven’t thrown him more than 30 pitches or something like that, and it was one-plus, so I just felt at that point in time the game was out of hand and I didn’t want to put him in harm’s way.”
Roberts had a brief conversation with Burns while Jones was still on the mound, and made the pitching change without knowing prior history. “I have no idea,” answered Roberts when asked if he was aware if Burns had ever pitched at any level.
“As I made the mound visit, there was little comedic stuff just to kind of defuse the moment and get him ready. I sort of ambushed him but he stepped up for us. I figured he had a right arm and could throw it over the plate.”
Roberts further explained he was hesitant to put the thought of pitching in Burns’ head since the scenario wasn’t a guarantee. But once the 30-year-old was presented with the possibility, he relished it.
“I just asked him if he was ready to make history, and he said, ‘Let’s do it,'” Roberts said.
Burns joins rare group to collect first hit and pitch
Per Elias Sports Bureau, Burns is the first position player to collect his first career hit and pitch in the same game since at least the Expansion Era (1961). He is the fifth position player since that same time period to pitch in a debut with a team, and second Dodgers player to do so.
Bobby Darwin did so for L.A. on April 14, 1969; Cody McKay did with the St. Louis Cardinals on April 8, 2004; Leonys Martín joined the group with the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 4, 2017; and Mike Freeman etched his name in the record books for the Cincinnati Reds on June 1, 2021.
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