Pitchers batting in the National League was a regular feature of the game for more than a century, but the now-rare phenomenon occurred Monday during the game between the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers.
The situation arose in the top of the fifth inning when pitcher Michael Fulmer, who had entered the contest in relief of starter Drew Smyly, picked up a bat and hit against Brewers starter Julio Teheran.
Fulmer ended up striking out to end the frame.
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The reason Fulmer had to bat was because the Cubs lost their designated hitter when Christopher Morel had to shift to third base in the bottom of the fourth inning. Nick Madrigal, who drove in a pair of RBI’s in the game, had to leave the contest due to hamstring tightness, according to the team, and under MLB rules if a designated hitter takes over a position in the field, then the team loses their DH for the remainder of the game.
Fulmer is the first Cubs pitcher to take a plate appearance this season. Only one Cubs hurler had a plate appearance during the 2022 season, the first year of the full-time designated hitter rule, as David Robertson struck out for the North Siders.
As an additional nugget, Fulmer’s at-bat was his first in exactly five years, as he last came to the plate on July 3, 2018 in a game at Wrigley Field against the Cubs.