Well, if there is one thing that Steven Register can always tell his children and grandchildren in regards to his brief career in Major League Baseball it’s this – that he once got to pitch for a pennant-winning ball club.
The 2009 Philadelphia Phillies repeated as National League pennant winners and went to the World Series for a second consecutive season for the first and only time in franchise history. And though you likely don’t remember it, Register did indeed step on the mound with that team. For one game.
A Georgia native, Register was a right-hander who had been the third round pick of the Colorado Rockies in the 2004 MLB Amateur Draft out of Auburn University.
Used by the Rockies as a starting pitcher for his first three seasons in their minor league system, Register won 19 games as he rose through three levels to reach Double-A Tulsa in 2006.
The powers-that-be with Colorado decided to switch him to the bullpen and give him another season with Tulsa to acclimate to the role. It would prove his most successful year in the minors. Register pitched in 60 games that season and registered 37 saves with a 4.19 ERA, striking out 48 over 58 innings.
Despite the solid season, Register was exposed to the Rule 5 Draft, where he was selected in December 2007 by the New York Mets. Unable to stick in New York, the Mets would return him to the Rockies at the end of spring training in March of 2008.
In the 2008 season, Register was moved to Triple-A Colorado Springs, a notorious hitting environment. Again he enjoyed success. Over 56 games he saved 16, with 57 hits allowed over 59 innings, a 52/19 K:BB, and a fine 3.36 ERA. At age 25, he was clearly ready for a shot at the big-leagues.
That opportunity finally came on August 1, 2008 when Register received a one-game audition with the Rockies. In what was a 9-4 loss to the Washington Nationals at Coors Field, Rockies manager Clint Hurdle sent him in relief of starter Aaron Cook with two outs in the top of the 6th inning. He struck out the only batter he faced, Lastings Milledge, on four pitches.
Sent back to Triple-A for the rest of the month, Register was brought back as rosters expanded in September. He would appear in nine games and wasn’t at all successful, allowing runs in the first seven. Register would finish the season with a 9.00 ERA in Major League Baseball having allowed 13 hits including four homers over 10 innings.
Register began 2009 back in Triple-A but did not repeat his 2008 success with Colorado Springs. In May, the Rockies organization released him as he was turning 26 years of age. He didn’t stay unemployed for long as the Phillies signed him on May 20.
Sent by the Phillies organization to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Register responded positively to the change in environment. He produced a 3.92 ERA over 41.1 innings across 34 games that summer and, when the Phillies were in need of a fresh arm in late July, Register got the call.
In that late Saturday afternoon game, Register allowed a double to the first batter he faced in the top of the 8th and a triple to the first batter in the top of the 9th inning. However, he was able to battle through and limit the damage to just one run.
With one out and two men on in the 8th he struck out Joe Thurston looking and got Skip Schumaker to ground out to first baseman Ryan Howard to escape trouble. In the 9th he got future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols to ground weakly to shortstop Jimmy Rollins, with that lone run coming home to score. Register walked Matt Holliday and allowed a single to Rick Ankiel, but worked around them, getting Mark DeRosa on a pop-up to Rollins for the final out of the game.
That was it, Register’s sole contribution to the Phillies 2009 National League pennant winners. After the season he was granted free agency and signed in January of 2010 with the Toronto Blue Jays with an invitation to spring training. After registering a 7.13 ERA over 48 games at Triple-A Las Vegas in the Jays’ system that season, Register was again granted free agency in November. He would not pitch again as a professional, ending his career at just age 27.