Butera pitches in for Twins in blowout loss

Butera pitches in for Twins in blowout loss

MILWAUKEE -- It's hard to find many positives in a 16-4 loss, but Twins catcher Drew Butera proved he might have a second calling as a pitcher.

Butera, pitching for the first time in his professional career, tossed a scoreless eighth inning against the Brewers on Sunday at Miller Park.

But Butera downplayed his impressive pitching debut, considering it came in such a lopsided loss.

"I just wanted to do whatever helped the team," Butera said. "Obviously, you never want to be in that situation because our team is down. So, hopefully, I'll never have to do it again."

The right-hander showed impressive velocity -- his fastball registered as high as 94 mph -- and he even struck out Carlos Gomez on a 78-mph changeup.

Butera admitted he'd look to the scoreboard behind him to see how hard he was throwing. His fastball ended up averaging 91.1 mph, according to MLB.com's Pitch F/X data.

"I'd be lying if I said no," Butera said with a laugh. "Yeah, I checked. Not every pitch, but I checked."

It was even more impressive considering he hadn't pitched since he was at Bishop Moore High School in Orlando, Fla.

Brewers right-hander Zack Greinke, who played against Butera in high school. was surprised by Butera's velocity, but was told by second baseman Rickie Weeks that Butera threw hard because they played together on an all-star team while in high school in Orlando.

"Rickie said he threw that hard," Greinke said. "I played with him in high school and I never knew he pitched, but Rickie said he did. Man, I don't know how he ended up being a catcher if he throws that good."

Butera retired the first batter he saw on just one pitch, getting Edwin Maysonet to ground out to shortstop before he struck out Gomez swinging.

Butera then walked George Kottaras on five pitches before throwing a wild pitch that advanced Kottaras to second with Nyjer Morgan at the plate. But Butera was able to get Morgan to ground out to second to end the inning.

"That's some kind of arm, huh?" Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "It's not that easy to walk up there and throw that hard."

With his scoreless inning, Butera became the sixth Twins position player to pitch in a game, joining Michael Cuddyer (2011), John Moses ('89, twice in '90), Dan Gladden ('88, '89), Cesar Tovar ('68) and Julio Becquer ('61).

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.