Padres' Lane makes amazing switch from OF to SP

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Jason Lane made his major league starting pitching debut on Tuesday at the age of 37.

He became the oldest pitcher to make his starting debut for Padres, by nearly five years.

Then he went out and pitched six scoreless innings without a walk, allowing just six hits. Then he allowed a homer to Evan Gattis with no outs in the seventh and took the loss.

"It's a little frustrating to make a mistake like that," Lane told the Associated Press. "There's not a lot of room for error. And it cost me."

All of that, by itself, would be an impressive feat in resilience. But, it's the other part that makes it more impressive.

Lane has been in the majors before, only as an outfielder. He's essentially the reverse of Rick Ankiel, who pitched with the Cardinals and then came back as an outfielder.

Life as an OF

It wasn't so long ago when Lane was a pretty good hitting outfielder. He hit 26 homers for the Astros in 2005, even homered in the World Series.

In all, he spent pars of six seasons with the team that drafted him. Then, he spent a few games with the Padres until he got out of baseball.

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Re-invented as pitcher

When Lane decided to come back, he had to start out with the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters outside Houston. If you recall, Tracy McGrady pitched for them too until recently.

But then, last July, the Padres signed him. And Lane has been pitching (and hitting) well for the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas.

It's funny because a site like doesn't even know how to treat the former hitter. His player page just shows batting stats, where he's listed as an outfielder and has hit .419 with three homers in 43 at bats.

His MLB return

When Lane first came to the majors, it was in two relief appearances.

But he got Monday's start because Ian Kennedy was hurt.

"The Padres gave me this opportunity," Lane told the AP. "Beyond that, I'm not sure what the situation will be. But I'll be ready to go."

Kennedy's injury isn't serious, so Lane is expected to be sent back down to El Paso right away. But it doesn't change what he accomplished, despite the hard-luck loss.

"Here's a guy in his mid-30s, he knows what he needs to do to get outs," Padres manager Bud Black told "To be able to do it at this level, at this age and get Major League hitters out is great. He knows his combination of pitches and has a great feel for the opposition.

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San Diego Padres
Houston Astros
MLB National League

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