Catcher Holaday pitches, impresses Tigers with wicked knuckler

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Bryan Holaday pitches against the Twins on Saturday.

St. Petersburg, Fla. – The video was making the rounds in the Tigers’ clubhouse before the game Sunday.

Former Tigers catcher Bryan Holaday, on the mound for the Rangers Saturday, his MLB pitching debut, throwing his knuckleball to the Twins’ Eduardo Nunez. Nunez swinging mightily, missing the pitch, and falling to his knees.

“Yeah, he sent me the video,” Andrew Romine said. “I was like, ‘I know, I saw it.’”

The Tigers players weren’t at all surprised that Holaday was able to pitch 1.1 scoreless innings in the Rangers’ 17-5 blowout loss Saturday. They had seen his knuckleball before.

“I’ve caught it before; it’s really good,” Romine said. “We’ve been waiting for him to pitch. I was just telling him, ‘Good job. Welcome to the club.’”

Romine has gotten emergency mound duty himself, pitching 1.2 innings for the Tigers. He empathized when he saw Holaday try to stifle his grin after he struck out Nunez.

“You are having so much fun out there but your team is losing by a lot,” Romine said. “But it was pretty awesome to see him. I expected that out of his knuckleball. It’s really good.”

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Romine also caught former Tiger Danny Worth’s knuckleball. He said Holaday’s was much better.

“I didn’t see him pitch for pitch (Saturday) but from the highlights I saw, it was really moving a lot,” he said. “Whether or not he could control it was the only question. I remember when we were playing catch and he was throwing it, I asked him, ‘Do you think you could control that, to actually pitch with it?’

“He was like, ‘Yeah, maybe.’ It definitely worked.”

Asked about Holaday’s pitching debut, Ian Kinsler said, “Yeah, but did you see what he was wearing today?”

Kinsler was referencing a picture Holaday posted on Twitter. It was a photo of Holaday and another former Tiger, Bobby Wilson, all decked out in ridiculous, red-white-and-blue Uncle Sam suits.