Long-time position player Charlie Culberson is attempting to transition to pitching. In an interview with Dave Lezotte, the play-by-play voice of the Gwinnett Stripers, prior to yesterday’s game, Culberson announced that he is working to transition to a pitcher.
Culberson told Lezotte that he’d like to be a two-way player but is trying to do as much as he can to extend his career. The transition - which he is working on with the Braves organization - started in April but was interrupted by two call-ups to the major league roster.
He has been working on pitching full-time since returning to the Stripers in August.
From yesterday, my interview with @GoStripers and #Braves fan favorite Charlie Culberson, talking about his new career path as a pitcher. The decision, the process, his arsenal, and more.— Dave Lezotte (@DaveLezotte) September 24, 2023
Please excuse my scratchy voice, it's been a long year.
LISTEN: https://t.co/HGhJ8sn1Cu pic.twitter.com/qfFoYvFC3S
Culberson, a Georgia-native, made his major league debut in 2012 with the San Fransico Giants and has appeared in the major leagues in each season since - other than 2015 when he dealt with a back injury. He’s appeared in 586 games for five organizations and has big league game-experience at every position other than catcher and centerfield.
During his career, he has played in parts of four season with Atlanta: 2018-2020 and 2023. He’s slashed .248/.294/.386 with 30 home runs in his career, thus far. In the eight games he’s pitched in the majors, he’s tossed 7.1 innings and given up only one earned run with one strikeout and a 1.364 WHIP.
Although he was with Atlanta for several months in two different stints earlier this season, he appeared in only one game, picking up a single in his only at bat.
In his interview with Lezotte, which is linked above, he discusses his career to this point and how this transition to pitching is something he has long thought about as an attempt to prolong his professional career.
He also chats about the advice he has received from pitchers in Gwinnett - including Darius Vines and Dereck Rodriguez, who began his professional career as a position player prior to transitioning to pitching.
Culberson said in the interview that he will likely make at least one more appearance before the end of the Gwinnett’s season.
In four games as a pitcher for the Stripers, he has struck out five batters in 3.2 innings. He has, however, given up eight hits and walked two.