Texas Rangers Catcher Pitches Well For 2nd Time In Week, Max Scherzer Ribs Mets Pete Alonso For Taking Walk

Texas Rangers backup catcher Andrew Knizner was forced to pitch in relief for the second time in a week, and he again held the opponent to multiple scoreless innings.
Jun 17, 2024; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas Rangers positional player Andrew Knizner (12) delivers a pitch to the New York Mets during the ninth inning at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 17, 2024; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas Rangers positional player Andrew Knizner (12) delivers a pitch to the New York Mets during the ninth inning at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports / Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

ARLINGTON —Andrew Knizner is something of a secret weapon for the Texas Rangers.

For the second time in the past week, the Rangers backup catcher came out of the bullpen to save the club's thin relief staff in blowout losses. With Texas trailing 14-2 in the eighth inning Monday night, manager Bruce Bochy called on Knizner's 46 mph heat to finish the godforsaken game with the New York Mets.

And much like his scoreless 1 2/3 innings of relief on Tuesday in the Rangers' blowout loss at Dodger Stadium, Knizner was nearly unhittable again against the Mets. The right-hander deftly retired Jose Iglesias with a 45.6 mph eaphus pitch, which Iglesias sent towards second baseman Marcus Semien with an exeedingly average 84.6 mph exit velocity.

Last week against the Dodgers, Knizner threw a perfect inning with the same gravity-defying slow speeds. Knizner has combined to throw three scoreless innings, allowing a hit and two walks.

But wait, there's more! In 2022, Knizner threw 2/3 of emergency scoreless relief for the St. Louis Cardinals against the Braves. So, all told, Knizner hast pitched 3.2 innings of combined scoreless relief.

"Nobody wants to face a position player. And no position player really wants to throw, so we're just trying to get strikes in there and let's get it moving. So I don't try to really trick anybody. "There are some guys who throw one hard, one slow, and a curveball. I'm like, 'I'm not trying to do anything crazy like that.' I'm just trying not to blow my arm out and try to throw strikes as best I can."

According to Stathead, Knizner is the first Rangers position player to log multiple pitching appearances of 1.1+ shutout innings in a single season.


"I really don't want to be pitching, especially when we're not winning." Knizner said. "So I was joking, and saying maybe today I'll get in when we're up by 12. That'll be a whole lot more fun."

Of course, that wasn't the case in either outing. The Rangers offense needs to remember how to score double-digit runs, anyway. It's something they did a bunch in 2023, but not so much this season.

"The way I look at it is, I'm just trying to, especially when I have runners on base from the previous pitcher; their ERA matters a whole lot more than mine, so I try to do whatever I can with my limited ability to get out and minimize damage."

Knizner's Monday appearance is the 32nd the Rangers have used a position player on the mound since 1972 and he's the 22nd different player to pitch.

His 1 2/3 innings against the Dodgers was the third time in Rangers history that a position player recorded five or more outs on the mound. The others include Jeff Kunkel on May 20, 1989, vs. Twins (1.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R-ER) and Brad Miller on July 22, 2023, vs. Dodgers (2.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R-ER).

Knizner is the first position player to pitch for the Rangers since catcher Austin Hedges did it multiple times during the 2023 season, the last coming on Sept. 15.

"I had a zero ERA coming into the game [Tuesday], and I still have a zero ERA," Knizner boasted with a wink. "My first out I recorded in the big leagues was Robbie Grossman, when he was with the Braves. I'd actually gotten two strikes [against him], and I tried to get one more in there; it would have been my hardest ball for sure. I think it was almost 80 mph, and he grounded out. I should have thrown even slower. Maybe I would have struck him out.

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Stefan Stevenson

STEFAN STEVENSON

Stefan Stevenson worked as a journalist and editor at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for 25 years, covering sports, concerts, and general news. His beats have included the Dallas Cowboys, the Texas Rangers, and Texas Christian University football.