Rizzo becomes 1st left-handed throwing third baseman since 1997
Don't worry, Chicago Cubs fans, Tuesday night's bizarre ninth-inning defensive alignment is most certainly not permanent. But it did allow those who stuck around at Great American Ball Park to witness a little bit of obscure history when first baseman Anthony Rizzo moved to third base in the ninth inning of an eventual 13-9 Cubs win in Cincinnati.
Rizzo was forced to take over the hot corner after the Cubs ran out of position players in the ninth inning. By doing so, he became one of the rarest of baseball species: a left-handed throwing third baseman.
Rizzo became only the seventh left-handed third baseman in baseball since 1913, joining Mario Valdez, Don Mattingly, Terry Francona, Mike Squires (who did it 14 times), Charlie Grimm, and Hall of Famer George Sisler. He's the first to do it since Valdez of the White Sox spent an inning at third on July 2, 1997.
According to Ryan Spaeder of the Sporting News, Rizzo's cameo marked the first time a left-hander has played third for the Cubs since George Decker in 1895 - when the Cubs franchise was known as the Chicago Colts.
During his big-league career, Rizzo has made just 13 appearances at positions other than first base. The 28-year-old has made 11 appearances at second base (usually as part of defensive shifts), and also briefly moved to left field earlier this year.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the reason Rizzo was playing third was not a good one. Kris Bryant was hit on the hand by a pitch in the eighth and left the game as a result, necessitating the defensive maneuvering.
Bryant was later diagnosed with a hand contusion after X-rays returned negative, per ESPN's Jesse Rogers. Despite the injury, Bryant appeared to be in good spirits postgame, and he even had some fun at Rizzo's expense.
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