05.17.09

Tampa’s Joe Maddon : Doing His Best To Eliminate The Designated Hitter

Posted in Baseball at 6:05 pm by

It would take some kinda crazy incident to claim the headlines from today’s Indians/Tribe game ahead of say, Kerry Wood throwing at B.J. Upton, or Carl Crawford’s trap of a Ryan Garko fly being ruled a catch. How about an American League club putting their starting pitcher into the pregame batting order for the first time in 32 years? An uncredited report from the Tampa Tribune provides the details :

Andy Sonnanstine (above, right) delivered after a pregame mistake forced the pitcher to bat Sunday, hitting an RBI double in the Tampa Bay Rays’ 7-5 victory over the Cleveland Indians.

The game was delayed 13 minutes before the bottom of the first due to a lineup card error by the Rays that listed both Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria as the third baseman. Longoria was supposed to be the designated hitter, but Tampa Bay lost the DH position because of the snafu and was forced to put Sonnanstine in the third spot of the lineup.

Sonnanstine (2-4) went 1 for 3, including a run-scoring double in the fourth. He also reached on a failed sacrifice in the first and struck out looking in the third.

Sonnanstine became the first pitcher to get at least two plate appearances in an AL game since teammate Matt Garza did it for the Minnesota Twins at the Chicago White Sox on July 6, 2007, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

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