Tom Selleck was all business in his role as a major league pinch-hitter. And he did fine - until the major league pitcher got down to business, too.
The actor pinch-hit for the Detroit Tigers in the eighth inning of their spring training game Wednesday night against the Cincinnati Reds. With a crowd of 7,210 shrieking approval, Selleck fouled off several pitches from Cincinnati's Tim Layana before striking out.At least he went down swinging.
"He swung the bat pretty good for an actor, didn't he?" Reds catcher Jeff Reed said. "You could tell he'd played some. He came up there with a big wad of chew in his mouth and he started spitting like a ballplayer."
That's the idea. Selleck has worked out with the Tigers this spring as research for his role in his next film, "Tokyo Diamond." Selleck, who played baseball in junior college, will play an aging ballplayer who goes to Japan in the movie.
He has made road trips with the Tigers this spring, taken batting practice, and even been the target of practical jokes in the clubhouse.
"I kind of got accepted," he said.
He got initiated to the big leagues Wednesday night.
Tigers manager Sparky Anderson sent him up to pinch-hit for Rob Deer with two out in the eighth inning and Detroit leading 4-2.
The crowd gave Selleck a standing ovation when he stepped out of the dugout wearing a No. 14 jersey with "SELLECK" stitched across the shoulders. The crowd knew Selleck was working out with the Tigers, but this was the first time he's appeared in a game.
"I just thought they'd just throw the ball up there. I didn't think they'd try to get him out," Anderson said.
"I didn't want him to get a hit," Reed said. "That wouldn't look too good."