Organizational soldier. Sacrificial lamb. Air Kentucky shuttle pilot. Carlos Fisher has been called all these things. Mostly by me. I would guess most Reds fans are barely aware he's on the team. Those that are may hope he's swept out with any other quad-A arms when the pitching staff returns to normalcy. Which is probably what will happen and what makes the most baseball sense, depending on who gets healthy and rediscovers the strike zone. If Fisher's days are numbered before his next send-down (and inevitable call up), I thought it might be worth pausing for an appreciation.
Pitchers like Fisher often are called up for reasons other than strictly to help win baseball games. Be there for emergencies. Devour innings in lost causes. Tax purposes? When the novelty of pitching as a major leaguer wears off -which, in all honestly, it shouldn't but probably does - this can be a frustrating lot. Though let me be clear: making major league minimum to live your dream and appear in a few innings every four days should not be viewed as a burden. But there must be a certain degree of strain to finding yourself in Fisher's role. Feeling like little more than a warm body. Getting teased by a series of cups of coffee. Hopping on flights at the team's beck and call, unsure of when and where you'll return.
And then there's the pitching itself. Mop-up duty, by definition, guarantees you'll be used in a game that was lost before you entered. Or an extra innings game in which the bullpen is spent and you've got a 50/50 chance of being caught holding the detonator. Fisher has appeared in five games this season for the Reds. All losses. In the last two, he was on the mound when the opposing team walked-off in extra innings. Yet he's only allowed 2 earned runs (and no inherited runs) in 11.1 innings pitched. It's a small sample - with 4.8 BB per 9 innings thrown in there - but it still puts him the conversation for sticking around.
Fisher is from Covina, CA - roughly halfway between LA and Rancho Cucamonga. Rancho Cucamonga, besides being a funny name, is also home to Dodgers minor-league affiliate, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Straddling the majors and minors at Age 28, Fisher is having a good season on a team that desperately needs a few good long-men.