When I started doing these updates a few weeks ago, I had no idea what to expect. After the rush of opening weekend’s Rule 5 debuts, the comparative paucity of debuts last weeks, and this week’s eight first-timers, I guess I still don’t. I can say, however, that it’s nice to see so many guys getting chances to ply their trade on baseball’s biggest stage.
Al Alburquerque (24), Detroit Tigers, RP
2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO
It was a good week for pitching debuts, with several guys beginning their major league careers by striking out the first man they faced. Alburquerque’s first victim was Oakland’s Mark Ellis, who went down looking on three pitches to start the seventh inning. Alburquerque entered at the start of the inning with the Tigers trailing 1-0; he kept them in the game for two innings, but was pulled after one batter in the ninth and missed out on a win when Detroit scored seven times in the tenth.
Lance Pendleton (27), New York Yankees, RP
3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 9 BF
A Rule 5 draft pick who didn’t stick with the team that selected him (Houston), Pendleton began his career in pinstripes by striking out Elvis Andrus. Then he struck out Michael Young. Then fly ball…pop fly…fly ball…ground out…fly ball…fly ball…groundout. Those three perfect innings comprise one of the best major league debuts in the past forty years.
Luis Perez (26), Toronto Blue Jays, RP
1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO
Perez got to enter in the middle of the bottom of the seventh inning, at Fenway Park, with two men on and Jacoby Ellsbury at the plate. He got Ellsbury to ground out, then allowed just one hit in the eighth to keep it a 4-1 game.
Joshua Collmenter (25), Arizona Diamondbacks, RP
2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 SO
Let’s play a little “Six Degrees of Josh Collmenter”, shall we? Collmenter is from Homer, Michigan, where he graduated from Homer High School. In 2004, his senior year, he went 18-0 to start the team on what would eventually become a national-record 75 game winning streak. That streak is now being challenged by Portsmouth (NH) High School and Coach Tim Hopley, which won their 66th consecutive game on Wednesday. I played baseball for Hopley at PHS in the 1990s, first as a freshman and later on the varsity (to say I “played” is a bit of an overstatement, but stay with me here). So yeah, Collmenter and I have a ton in common.
Alan Johnson (27), Colorado Rockies, SP
4 IP, 5 R, 4 ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 3 SO
Johnson put up good numbers in back-to-back seasons in the low minors, but struggled at higher levels from 2008 to 2010. He put the leadoff man on in each of the first three innings of his debut, the last two on walks, and allowed four earned runs. In the fourth, he walked the second batter, who eventually scored.
Jose Valdez (28), Houston Astros, RP
1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO
Valdez spent nine years in the minor league systems of the Yankees and Astros, appearing in 214 games before reaching the major leagues. He started off his career by striking out Ryan Ludwick and Cameron Maybin on six pitches.
Jerry Sands (23), Los Angeles Dodgers, LF
1-3, 2B, RBI, 2 SO
After tearing up Triple-A Albuquerque for the first two weeks of the season (.400-5-17), Sands was promoted to Los Angeles. He doubled off Atlanta’s Tim Hudson in his first major league at-bat and added a sacrifice fly his next time up.
Carlos Peguero (24), Seattle Mariners, RF
No offensive statistics
With the Mariners leading the Tigers 13-3, Peguero entered the game as a defensive replacement for rightfielder Ichiro Suzuki and didn’t touch the ball. He avoided a Moonlight Graham career with a start the following night, hitting seventh and playing left field; he finished 0-4 with three strikeouts, including a game-ending punch-out with the tying run at second base.