I recently was browsing thru Billy Butler's minor league stats on baseball-reference.com and noticed that Butler has 4.1 innings of pitching (1 game) on his resume from 2004 in rookie league ball. I thought that was very odd, for many reasons, not the least of which was it obviously not a "mop up" in a blowout, since he allegedly faced 25 batters. I then did some research, and found that Billy Buckner was on the same team that year, and thought to myself - well, that's an easy explanation: the boxscore simply was misrecorded or something. In addition, I really doubt the Royals would have approved of using a #1 draft pick in an emergency "mop up in a blowout" role in the first place - surely that job would fall to a lesser talent, right? Also have never heard anyone mention this before - and as much as we all followed Billy's progress, surely somebody would have asked if it were true, right?
Anyway, I emailed baseball-reference and asked about it; got a response today in which they said they think it is true, because they cross referenced with several other sources, including Baseball Cube, Baseball Almanac, etc.), and claim that all of these sources they cross referenced do not "work from the same dataset", in their words.
Doesn't sound like very stellar research on their part at all, IMHO. I assume they all get their info from some official boxscore or something, and most likely said boxscore is the source of this error in the first place.
Anyway, I'd thought I'd ask the people who know the Royals the best (RR community): Has anybody ever heard of Butler pitching a game in the minors? Does it seem as unlikely to you as it does to me?