Royals Let Kid Who Threw Opening Pitch Stay in for Rest of Game

Thirteen-year-old Tim Harper’s lifetime dream was to pitch for the Kansas City Royals. Yesterday, against the Detroit Tigers, he got his wish and then some.
The Branson, Missouri, native, who was struck with leukemia two years ago, had requested through the Make-A-Wish Foundation to throw out the first pitch at a Royals game. After the pitch landed a few feet in front of home plate, Royals manager Trey Hillman decided that was good enough for him, and left scheduled starter Zack Greinke in the bullpen.
“Our scouts were really impressed with the kid’s mechanics, and we made the decision to leave him in," said Hillman. "It might’ve landed a couple of feet in front of the mound, but believe me, that was the most impressive pitching we’ve seen this year. Our guns hadn’t topped 24 mph all spring for anyone other than Zack, so it was refreshing to see someone with a live arm out there. We need more like this kid.”
A confused Harper took the mound in the bottom of the first against a potent Tigers lineup, and proceeded to give up 13 runs to the first 13 batters he faced. But Hillman was adamant that his new pitcher get out of his own jam.
“It was a learning experience, something every young pitcher goes through," said the Royals skipper.
The Tigers went on to score 36 more runs before the manager decided to bring in reliever Roman Colon, who proceeded to give up an additional 28 runs before closing out the inning on a pop fly.
During the post-game press conference, Hillman was asked whether this was merely a stunt to keep people attending the game interested in an otherwise boring game.
“Not at all. I mean, this isn’t some Disney movie," he said. "This kid is literally one of the best pitchers we have on our squad, and I am not kidding. You guys haven’t seen the rest of our staff. It’s really, really, really, horrible.”
Harper expressed disappointment over his outing.
"If only I hadn't lost my throwing arm to the disease, I think I could have done a lot better," he said. "But I could tell the guys were excited to have me on the team."


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