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Chicago Cubs closer David Robertson, 37, fulfills dream by hitting in a major-league match for the 1st time


David Robertson waited 14 a long time for this instant.

The Chicago Cubs’ 37-yr-outdated closer had been itching to move into the batter’s box just as soon as through his main-league job. His time lastly arrived Wednesday night at PNC Park in the Cubs’ 14-5 blowout acquire in opposition to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Robertson experienced not taken an official at-bat since superior school as a shortstop and pitcher in Tuscaloosa, Ala., a extend that bundled 787 pitching appearances in skilled baseball courting to when the New York Yankees drafted him out of the College of Alabama in 2006.

But Robertson held out hope that possibility would crop up at some issue throughout his huge-league career. The predicament unquestionably was unconventional. With two outs in the major of the ninth, Robertson strike in opposition to Pirates infielder Diego Castillo.

As absolutely everyone in the Cubs dugout lined up in opposition to the railing for a entrance-row view, Castillo struck out a swinging Robertson on a complete depend. In honor of his initial profession MLB at-bat, Robertson was offered the Cubs’ lineup card from the sport. He programs to locate a location to hang it in his property.

“I do not know if I’ll ever get one more option, so I’m glad I did and produced my aspiration come real,” Robertson stated. “Even nevertheless I struck out.”

Robertson borrowed Christopher Morel’s bat and Yan Gomes’ helmet. An individual available him batting gloves, but he declined. He figured they would not subject since Robertson’s solution was very simple: swing difficult and strike the ball.

“I seriously wasn’t thinking about anything at all else,” Robertson mentioned. “It seemed like the mound was incredibly close.”

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His memorable moment initially was a extended shot.

Robertson, who pitched a scoreless eighth, needed the offense’s assistance to get to the plate. He was slotted into the specified hitter place in the purchase, which wasn’t because of up right up until eighth in the last inning. Castillo retired two of the initially three Cubs he confronted, but Andrelton Simmons walked, Jason Heyward was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Alfonso Rivas followed with his very first job grand slam. Rafael Ortega’s two-strike single introduced up Robertson.

“I didn’t feel it was really going to materialize,” he explained.

Robertson smiled.

“And then I blew it. I blew it.”

Robertson fell powering Castillo 1-2 just before doing the job a full count. He whiffed on the sixth pitch of the at-bat, elevated above the zone for a would-be ball. Robertson did not see a pitch quicker than 55.4 mph. Just one of his a few swings-and-misses arrived on a 40.4-mph eephus.

All through the sequence, a grin stretched across Robertson’s confront.

“It was exciting to get in the box, I just couldn’t hit the ball,” Robertson reported. “It was so gradual and I was not heading to walk. … I signify, it is uncomplicated to tell when it’s a ball or strike when it’s, like, 40 miles an hour, but I was not going to walk. I had to swing. I had to try out.”

Supervisor David Ross had broached the subject matter with Robertson prior to the Pirates introduced in Castillo for the ninth. Ross explained he had been searching to get Robertson an at-bat a few of occasions this time and wasn’t confident it was going to work out Wednesday.

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Robertson’s coaches and teammates acquired some laughs out of observing him strike. Ross joked that Robertson had “too much undesirable pace for how sluggish it was coming.” He noticed Robertson couldn’t prevent smiling on deck and named him a child at coronary heart, even when the veteran’s pitching.

Robertson mentioned he “absolutely” listened to it from his teammates following walking back into the dugout soon after his strikeout, all in excellent pleasurable, proclaiming: “They were being wearing me out.” Ian Happ, who homered in the get, joked about Robertson needing to get in the cage to work on his swing.

“That was hard,” claimed an amused Keegan Thompson after keeping the Pirates to a single run in six innings. “He’s been begging for an at-bat the whole 12 months and he swung and missed 3 occasions. I indicate, at minimum he swung, but you have obtained to place the ball in perform.”

Baseball is a long period, and for a Cubs crew nearer to past spot than 1st, the levity of Robertson hitting was welcomed.

“It felt like very first time I’ve laughed in the dugout in a when, so that unquestionably felt superior,” Ross mentioned. “These men go on to come in and work really hard, and you want to see them succeed and us triumph, and the nights when you have the skill to take it easy and just take the aim off of so numerous very little factors and just have a minimal little bit of enjoyment and observe D-Rob get up there and a position player compared to pitcher for after, (it) was exciting to view.”

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