On Monday night, Sam Fuld of the Tampa Bay Rays entered the game against the Milwaukee Brewers as a pinch hitter for reliever J.P. Howell in the top of the eighth inning. In the bottom half, he took the mound and began warming up, as though he was going to pitch. However, before he faced a single batter, Fuld was removed from the game for proper reliever Caesar Ramos.
According to Rays manager Joe Maddon:
He had no chance to throw a pitch that inning. I could see the Brewers looking over there [thinking], ‘What is going on? Fuld is not in the report.’ One pitch. All the infielders were begging for one pitch. But you can’t do that. You don’t want to incite the other team. And I was concerned about that to begin with. By having to do that, I was worried about inciting them. But it was no disrespect to the Brewers. It was just a matter of the way that happened so quickly, moving it on to the next guy.
Fuld taking the mound was the result of a miscommunication through some fuzzy telephone lines between the dugout and the bullpen. Typically, when a reliever takes the mound he must throw to at least one batter, but according to the umpiring crew chief Jerry Layne:
Fuld went out there, and from what I understand, [home-plate umpire Bob Davidson] was told that he was sore or couldn’t pitch or something. He’s supposed to pitch to a batter unless he’s incapacitated, but we’re not doctors. It’s a situation where, if they do something like that, they’re circumventing the rules, but as an umpire, there’s nothing we can do about it. If that’s what we’re told — he’s hurt, or whatever — we’re not doctors. Can you imagine if we had a guy who stayed out there because we said, ‘No, you have to pitch to one batter,’ and then he throws out a rotator cuff? If they’re going to buy time, they’re going to buy time. There’s no way around it. The only way to do it is to play with the rule a little.
However, Maddon denied that Fuld was injured and spoke with Layne’s crew the next day, apologizing.
I was not totally aware of the rule like that. I wasn’t trying to get away with anything. I was not aware of that, I was not clear on that. That is my fault, nobody’s else’s. I think it was a total miscommunication, I never said anything about an injury.
One of the more difficult things in the world is trying to explain a baseball game to someone who has never seen one before. There are just so many rules that fans have absorbed through osmosis. However, this was strangely not one of them for Joe Maddon, whose apology to the umpires, it should be noted, was at least in part prompted by a telephone call from MLB VP Joe Torre.
And The Rest
Joe Posnanski’s Sports Illustrated cover piece on Jose Bautista is available online. The well crafted story is a good reminder why magazines are losing importance. Everything written here was far more relevant a few weeks ago when we hadn’t already read all of this from several different sources. It’s still an enjoyable read, though.
4,156,940 people believe that Jose Bautista should start in right field at this year’s All-Star Game, and Adrian Gonzalez continues to widen his lead over Mark Teixeira.
Meanwhile, in the Naitonal League, expect Joey Votto to pass the injured Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes to narrow the gap between himself and Troy Tulowitzki.
The Oakland A’s have demoted Daric Barton to Triple A. Apparently, even the best defensive first basemen need to have an OPS above .600.
Charlie Morton is fatigued and will skip his next start. Tired? But he’s only thrown eleven innings in his last three starts.
If you get past all the sabermetrics, FanGraphs makes a lot of baseball sense. This article was not written by Hunter Roscoe.
I wonder how much longer we’ll have to wait for the San Diego Padres fire sale to begin.
Would Mark Cuban consider purchasing the Los Angeles Dodgers?
Speaking of the Dodgers, at the age of 83, broadcaster Vin Scully mocked 80 year old Florida Marlins manager Jack McKeon for not understanding Twitter.
Logan Morrison blasted Hanley Ramirez for being late to the club’s first meeting after hiring their new manager. I was quick to defend Morrison after the team’s hitting coach was fired and he spoke out about it, but I wonder if he’s not trying a bit too hard to be the team leader. That stuff best happens organically.
They don’t call it the windy city for nuthin’:
Finally, Professor Farnsworth speaks up: