Pat Neshek

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Pat Neshek
Pat neshek2012.JPG
St. Louis Cardinals – No. 41
Pitcher
Born: (1980-09-04) September 4, 1980 (age 33)
Madison, Wisconsin
Bats: Switch Throws: Right
MLB debut
July 7, 2006 for the Minnesota Twins
Career statistics
(through 2013 season)
Win–loss record 16–9
Earned run average 3.07
Strikeouts 216
Teams

Patrick J. Neshek (born September 4, 1980) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball (MLB). His pitching delivery is characterized as an unorthodox style that is considered side-armed. Neshek is a graduate of Park Center Senior High School in Minnesota, and of Butler University.

Early career[edit]

At Park Center High School, he was named to the All-State team. At Butler University, he was a three-year letter winner and holds school records for strikeouts in a single game (18 vs. Detroit, April 15, 2001), strikeouts in a single season (118, 2001) and career strikeouts (280).

Neshek was originally selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 45th round (1337th overall) of the 1999 Major League Baseball Draft, but did not sign and went on to Butler. The Twins again later drafted him in the sixth round of the 2002 MLB Draft as the 182nd overall pick. He signed with the Twins that year, and was assigned to the Twins' rookie farm team. He then spent four years in the minor leagues, pitching 293 13 innings in 206 games with 367 strikeouts, a 16–12 won-lost record and an earned run average (ERA) of just 2.18. During the 2005 season, he led all minor league Twins players in saves.

Major League career[edit]

Minnesota Twins[edit]

In his major league debut, Neshek pitched two innings and allowed just one hit. On July 30, 2006, he earned his first major league career win against the Detroit Tigers after pitching only a third of an inning.

He began the 2007 season 2–0 and 2.25. In May, he gave up only six hits in 13.2 innings pitched, had eighteen strikeouts and posted a very impressive 0.66 ERA.[1] On July 1, 2007, he was chosen as one of five candidates for the final online fan vote for the All-Star game along with Jeremy Bonderman, Kelvim Escobar, Roy Halladay and Hideki Okajima. The spot went to Okajima despite a campaign by Twin fans and national sports blogs to "Pitch in for Pat".[2] Neshek finished third in voting.

He suffered his first loss of the season against the New York Yankees on July 5, but then won three games in fourteen days improving his record to 6–1. He posted a 3.97 ERA during the month of July, losing his second game but winning his seventh game and bringing his season record to 7–2 but with a 5.06 ERA for the month. On September 20, the Twins shut him down for the season because of shoulder/elbow fatigue.[3]

Neshek ended the season at 7–2, appearing in 74 games and pitching a total of 70.1 innings with a 2.94 ERA.[4] He was honored at the annual Twins' diamond ceremony with the 2007 Dick Siebert Award.[5]

In his first three appearances of 2008, Neshek allowed only one hit in 3.1 innings pitched and had a 0.00 ERA, but then allowed 7 earned runs in his next 10 innings. In May, he was placed on the 60-day disabled list with a tear of the UCL and missed the rest of the season. On November 11, 2008, it was announced that he would undergo ligament replacement surgery (more commonly known as Tommy John surgery) and miss the entire 2009 season. He went under the knife a week later, on November 18.[6]

He recovered to make the Twins' 2010 roster out of spring training. In 4 13 innings pitched, he had a 4.15 ERA with two runs and two hits allowed.[7] But he was put on the disabled list on April 15 soon after the start of the regular season[8] due to middle finger inflammation. But when he was re-examined, MRI revealed that the injury was not in fact in the middle finger but in the palm of his right hand. He angrily wrote about this not only on his website but also on Facebook, where he said he's "not happy with anything that has gone on, especially when it could have been taken care of three weeks ago and I was told the wrong info." This raised Twin manager Ron Gardenhire's anger in that his young pitcher had publicly criticized the Twins' organization and their medical staff, but the matter was eventually settled, Neshek claiming "Gardy and I are on the same page" and vowing that once healthy he would be willing to pitch wherever the Twins assign him, calling the whole thing "a miscommunication."[9] After his time on the DL ran out he was optioned to Triple-A Rochester but recalled to the majors on September 6,[10] finishing 2010 0–1 and 5.00 with 9 strikeouts and 8 walks in 9 innings.

San Diego Padres[edit]

Neshek was acquired off waivers on March 20, 2011 by the San Diego Padres.[11][12] He was designated for assignment on August 20 after recording a 4.01 ERA in 25 appearances for the Padres.[13] At season's end, he became a free agent.[14]

Baltimore Orioles[edit]

On January 30, 2012, he signed a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles and was invited to spring training, but ultimately did not make the opening day roster and spent the next several months at Triple-A Norfolk.

Oakland Athletics[edit]

On August 3, 2012, Neshek was traded to the Oakland A's for cash considerations and was immediately called up by Oakland from Triple-A Norfolk, where he had amassed 11 saves and a 2.66 ERA in 35 relief appearances. He also struck out 49 batters in 44 innings, and walked just seven while giving up only one home run. To make room for Neshek on the roster along with same-day call-up Dan Straily [RHP], the A's optioned relievers Jim Miller and Evan Scribner to Triple-A Sacramento.[15] He pitched fairly well for the A's except for giving up an extra-inning game-tying homer in New York to Yankee slugger Raul Ibañez after the A's had scored four runs in the top of the inning, leading to a galling loss the next inning. But the A's beat the Yanks the next day and went 9-2 to end the season, edging the Texas Rangers out of the AL West championship by one game by sweeping them three straight in Oakland in the last three games of the regular season.

On November 30, 2012, Neshek avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal with the A's. He was designated for assignment on August 26, 2013. Neshek elected free agency November 5, 2013.

St. Louis Cardinals[edit]

Neshek signed a minor league deal with the St. Louis Cardinals with an invitation to Spring Training on February 6, 2014.[16] Manager Mike Matheny has stated that Neshek has impressed this spring and may be in the running for a bullpen spot. The competition for the bullpen is the only one left. Neshek has made the St. Louis Cardinals 25-man roster.

Pitching style[edit]

Neshek has a very unorthodox style of delivery that could best be described as throwing side-arm. He developed it after being struck in the forearm with a ball in high school by C.J. Woodrow (a former Philadelphia Phillies farmhand). He then began to throw side arm and play shortstop due to his injury. When it healed, he could not change back to over the shoulder and his unique delivery stayed the way it is. He still has a lump in his forearm where he was struck.

The delivery has earned mention on SportsCenter as well as Baseball Tonight. Professional baseball scouts have had a divided opinion on the issue. Some were worried that this violent-looking delivery would lead to arm problems. Others considered the delivery to be an asset, as right-handed batters have a very difficult time seeing the ball. For example, Jose Marzan, his former manager with the Single-A Fort Myers Miracle believes that one of Neshek's greatest strengths is his ability to have enough strength to throw hard from such an angle, as his fastball used to top out around 96 mph (154 km/h) prior to his Tommy John surgery. Neshek has had great success in both the minor and major leagues as a reliever, averaging more than a strikeout per inning pitched.

Neshek suffered an injury during the 2008 season, tearing the UCL in his pitching arm. This injury ultimately required Tommy John surgery, which sidelined Neshek for the 2009 season.

Personal life[edit]

Neshek has created his own website, which he runs entirely on his own. It is for his fans to interact and talk about collecting autographs. He has been known to auction off some of his game-used items in exchange for memorabilia. The site has over 7000 members. Neshek himself is also an avid autograph collector.[17]

Neshek is also a fan of the baseball sim Out of the Park Baseball, commenting in a tweet on August 12, 2012: "Spent the day off yesterday playing OOTP13 Baseball for most of the day. Talk about addicting."[18]

Neshek is married to Stephanee Neshek. Their first son, Gehrig John, was born on October 2, 2012, but lived only 23 hours. The cause of the infant's death has not been made public.[19] The autopsy of the baby did not provide sufficient clarity about the cause of death, and there are now lawsuits pending.[20]

Awards[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]