by Daniel Gettinger
The Padres made a number of roster moves yesterday. Mike Ekstrom will fill in for the injured Luke Gregerson. Josh Banks was also promoted to the big league club. With Peavy on the disabled list, and Young likely heading there, Banks will probably be asked to soak up some innings as a starter (although he will supposedly begin his stint with the club in the bullpen). I cannot reasonably expect him to be much better than replacement level, but considering Chris Young has pitched at a below replacement level this season, Banks might actually be an improvement.*
*Note: Yes, I realize Young’s true talent level is probably higher than Banks. Calling Banks an “improvement” may be stretching things.
Speaking of “innings eaters,” in the most exciting move of the day, the Padres signed Brian Lawrence to a minor league deal. Lawrence has not pitched well since 2005, but for a team that lets Josh “Best Case Scenario, I Turn into Brian Lawrence” Geer take the hill on a regular basis, signing the real thing must be an amazing feeling!
In all seriousness though, inking B-Law to a minor league deal has no downside. It does not cost the Padres any money, nor a roster spot. With all the starting pitching injuries, depth in the AAA rotation was becoming an issue. Lawrence will be able to soak up some AAA innings, and prevent the team from being forced to call up a AA pitcher before he is ready. If he pitches okay in the minors, Lawrence might even get to make a start or two for the Padres. A full season of B-Law on the major league team would be unbearable, but from purely a fans perspective, I would not mind watching him for two games as he tries to recreate that 2001-2002 magic. I think I would even support a standing ovation if he does make it back to Petco.
While we are in the B-Law spirit, here are some of my favorite facts and quotes about him:
- Lawrence is one of 38 pitchers to throw a nine pitch inning that resulted in three strike outs. He accomplished the feat on June 12, 2002.
- Lawrence was traded to the Nationals for Vinny Castilla. Neither team was happy with the trade. The National’s were upset because Lawrence turned out to have a shoulder injury. The Padres were upset because Castilla was abysmal. Turns out Petco does not play the same as mid 90s Coors.
- A Google search for “Brian Lawrence innings eater” returns 4,520 results. Seemingly all of the results lead to pages that directly refer to Lawrence as an “innings eater.” I too have used the term “innings eater,” but does such a thing really exist? If you leave him out there long enough, any pitcher will eventually get three outs.
- Darren Balsley was once quoted as saying: “I like Brian. He gets outs.” Wow. No comment.