GARY | The RailCats added Tim Verthein on the last morning they could add a player to their American Association roster.
Verthein was designed to be an insurance policy, a fresh arm out of the pen if necessary, though he was a rookie in the truest sense. Straight out of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, Verthein was a highly recommended addition who hadn't thrown a pitch for a professional club.
He sat on the RailCats bench for a little more than a week, waiting for his pro debut as the team raced its way to a playoff berth.
Though he was set to be a reliever, his first professional pitch came Sunday as a starter, with the RailCats securing their postseason plans Saturday.
He threw 5 1/3 innings of two-hit ball and allowed one earned run, though he was denied the win as the RailCats beat El Paso 7-4.
"In the case when you can add somebody that you want to add someone of value," manager Greg Tagert said. "My penchant for wanting to see some young players in this kind of atmosphere ... The idea was that his best value to the club to eat up some innings, but he added to it by eating up some innings and pitching a heck of a ballgame."
Verthein wasn't long to stick around the clubhouse after his no-decision. He didn't let the Diablos stay long on the board, either.
After walking the first batter he faced and giving up a ground-rule double in the first inning, Verthein allowed just one other base runner until the sixth. He allowed his second hit and walked one before he was relieved of the game.
The RailCats defense committed an error and gave up a 3-1 lead as El Paso took a 4-3 advantage to take the win from Verthein.
Ryan Brockett, who committed the error in the sixth, scored the tying run in the seventh, then hit a two-RBI double in the eighth to give the RailCats the lead.
Cristian Guerrero hit a two-run home run off the scoreboard in left field in the third inning to break a 1-1 tie and give his team a 3-1 lead early. It was Guerrero's third homer at U.S. Steel Yard this season.
The RailCats scattered 14 hits including four for extra bases.
"When you can mix in some guys, it's how important it is to have some depth, not only for days like today, and you can have the same quality," Tagert said. "I think that's the one thing that gets underestimated, that you can put players in there and not have a drop off."