Drew Sutton: Clean Up Hitter

Suggesting that it’s been a whirlwind few days for Drew Sutton is the type of understatement usually reserved for sarcasm. The journeyman infielder, who’s best classified somewhere between Major League bench and organizational player, was plying his trade in the Atlanta Braves system as recently as Sunday.

By the end of the weekend, he had been traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash considerations. It was expected that Sutton would report to the team’s Triple A affiliate in Indianapolis to provide his personal brand of organizational depth, but before he could find a road map of Indiana, the Tampa Bay Rays snagged him from the Pirates for future considerations.

With Jeff Keppinger in a walking cast after getting hit by a foul ball over the weekend, the Rays needed someone who could play multiple infield positions at the Major League level. Sutton, who was once traded for Keppinger back in 2009, was the perfect available replacement and was acquired for the second time in two days by a team who didn’t have to give up a player to get him.

He reported to the team on Monday and started at second base for the Rays last night versus the Toronto Blue Jays. He responded well to the opportunity, going two for four with a single and a double, knocking in a run as well. With left hander Ricky Romero on the mound today for the Blue Jays, Sutton was called upon, not only to start again at second base, but to bat in the clean up spot.

So, to recap, Sutton has gone from an organizational player in the Atlanta Braves system to batting clean up for arguably the best team in the American League East. And in the first inning of today’s game, he responded by hitting a double that drove in two runs. Amazing. Oh, and one of those runs was scored by Carlos Pena, who is leading off again for the Rays, drawing a walk in his first plate appearance.

Rays manager Joe Maddon and his machinations are often used as an excuse to suggest that you can’t predict baseball, but the unpredictable has become rather easy to predict with such an a-typical skipper at the helm.