ARLINGTON, Texas – Victor Caratini is a ‘no-no’ catcher.
When hometown starter Joe Musgrove pitched the first no-hitter for the San Diego Padres in franchise history, Caratini became the first MLB receiver to be behind the plate – with consecutive no-hitters – for different teams.
“He was the first to hug me,” Musgrove said of Caratini. “And it just felt good. I know he wanted that as much as I did.”
While Musgrove had never thrown a no-hitter at any level, Caratini was on the receiving end Sept. 13 when Alec Mills pitched one for the Chicago Cubs in Milwaukee. The Padres’ offseason acquisitions came together Friday night in a 3-0 win over the Rangers in Texas.
“Just super happy. I think it’s quite rare to find yourself in those situations,” Caratini said Saturday through a translator. “Joe had everything working, he had all his pitches working. It’s really amazing. Really happy to be a part of this, really happy for him, and really happy that the team was able to experience that with him.”
It was just the second start with the Padres for the 28-year-old Musgrove, the only player they recovered as part of a three-team, seven-player trade in January after he pitched for Pittsburgh the past three seasons.
The 27-year-old Caratini also came to San Diego as part of a seven-player contract. The catcher came in with Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish last December for right-hander Zach Davies and four minor leaguers.
Musgrove described Caratini as “a scientist” who calculated between innings what they were about to face in the Rangers’ lineup and determined when to be aggressive and when to try to save some pitches. Padres manager Jayce Tingler credited Caratini with convincing the great right-hander of a historic performance, while he no doubt benefited from the recent experience of catching another no-hitter.
“When you start to connect the dots a little bit, have two of them now, and as fast as he had them,” Tingler said Saturday. “Obviously he receives well, he considers it to be a great game … Just being able to be on the same page, and you really can’t do that without getting into a flow. So there has to be a lot of trust with both sides there. And I think that Victor has earned the trust of many of those pitchers. “
There have been 10 other times a starting receiver caught consecutive MLB no-hitters, but they were all for the same team, according to Elias Sports. The last was Cincinnati’s Ryan Hanigan when Homer Bailey kept the Giants without a hit on July 2, 2013, after doing the same with Pittsburgh on September 28, 2012.
Caratini was already one of only eight Puerto Rico catchers to be a part of a no-hitter, but has now joined the Hall of Famer, Iván “Pudge” Rodríguez, as the only ones to catch two of them.
“Super proud to be on the same list, to be in that company as Ivan. He is one of my idols,” said Caratini.
Rodriguez caught the perfect game thrown by Texas Rangers left-hander Kenny Rogers on July 28, 1994, which had been the last no-hitter pitched at Arlington.