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Rays remove Rocco Baldelli from playoff roster with left leg fatigue, add Willy Aybar

Oct 7, 2010, 12:45 PM EST

Tampa Bay including Rocco Baldelli on the playoff roster was a surprise given that he logged a total of just 24 at-bats for the Rays after spending much of the season as a minor-league coach.
Even more surprising was that manager Joe Maddon gave Baldelli the Game 1 start at designated hitter against Cliff Lee. He went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and now the Rays have removed Baldelli from the playoff roster, adding Willy Aybar in his place.
Mid-series roster changes can only be made as a result of injuries, and so the official reason being given is that Baldelli has “left leg fatigue.” That’s sure to raise some eyebrows, but Baldelli has a long history of health problems that have sidetracked his once-promising career on several different occasions and the Rays say the leg fatigue is related to his mitochondrial disorder.
Aybar is starting at DH this afternoon against left-hander C.J. Wilson. Baldelli is now ineligible to play in the remaining ALDS games or the ALCS if the Rays advance that far, but would be eligible to return for the World Series.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 7, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    I thought the commissioner had a say when someone tried to pull this BS. I think it is a disgrace that the Rays get to screw around with their roster mid-series just because Baldelli looked bad yesterday. Sets a terrible precendent. I can see if a guy gets hurt in the game…then maybe you let them make a change. But not Baldelli…a guy who had about 25 at bats and the Rays took a chance on. He didn’t get hurt all of a sudden…he’s been hurt all year.

  2. BC - Oct 7, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    Don’t know what Baldelli’s past against Cliff Lee was. Could be that its very good, and they wanted to sneak him in for a game.

  3. Fordman84 - Oct 7, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    This is a complete BS move, but nothing will be done about it. It just goes to show you that the Rays are a good team in SPITE of that idiot Maddon.

  4. btberry - Oct 7, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    I think if it was BS they would have said something like he hurt his back on a swing, not something completely disprovable like a bone fracture. Plus, Maddon isn’t the type to knee-jerk after 3 at bats. I agree that it seems fishy, but it is possible that the stress fracture only came to light because of the pain from actually playing, which hasn’t happened very much for him in a long time.

  5. BC - Oct 7, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    Now watch Aybar get hurt and replaced by the newly-signed Cigar Guy.

  6. doctorfunke - Oct 7, 2010 at 1:40 PM

    Wow. Thanks for the expert diagnosis, Chris. What about Polanco? He seemed to have gotten hurt “all of a sudden.” I’d say it’s completely possible that before the game Baldelli was fine, and then something happened and then he wasn’t. Especially for someone who has a serious medical condition. I don’t think there are any shenanigans going on here. And besides, it’s not like they’re replacing him with Babe Ruth or something.

  7. Detroit Michael - Oct 7, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    It’s too bad for Baldelli, an end to what he had hoped would be a fairy tale return. By all accounts, he’s a classy guy.
    On the other hand, given that it was completely foreseeable that Baldelli would suffer some kind of fatigue, it sure seems to violate the spirit of the rules for the Rays to replace him on the roster after one play-off game.

  8. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 7, 2010 at 1:49 PM

    Oh I’m sorry…did I miss the part where Polanco was removed from the Phillies roster and replaced with someone? No because it didn’t happen. If you want to make an analogy, at least do it with some type of logic instead of just throwing something out there. You don’t get fatigue from one stinking game. Nothing against Baldelli, but he retired last year because of this…got like 25 at bats, and then he’s on the ALDS roster? And they let him get replaced? Ridiculous and BS, whether they replaced him with Mantle or Mendoza.

  9. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 7, 2010 at 1:58 PM

    Checked Baseball Reference…Lee vs Baldelli is 3-9 with a double and an RBI.
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/pvb.cgi?n1=leecl02&n2=baldero01
    Not great, but just about the same as Lee vs Aybar…4-12 with a double and 2 RBI
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/pvb.cgi?n1=leecl02&n2=aybarwi01
    By the way…the play index on baseballreference.com is AMAZING!!

  10. doctorfunke - Oct 7, 2010 at 2:04 PM

    You just proved my point, he DOES get fatigue from the most basic activities, that’s what a mitochondrial condition is. So it is completely plausible that he is now suffering the effects of the disease because he played yesterday. The plan from the get-go with him was to play him and then sit him for several days so that he could recover. He obviously feels that he cannot finish the rest of the series, so they took him out and put in someone else. Regarding Polanco, I was just stating that he is a recent example of someone who got hurt, but they didn’t seem to know how they got injured. Maybe I should have used Brian Roberts as an example instead. Sorry to almost rip the Phillies, I know they can no longer do no wrong.

  11. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 7, 2010 at 2:16 PM

    I am not saying he is faking…what I am saying is that the Rays should not be allowed to this because he is hurt…has been hurt…and why should they be allowed to throw in a questionable guy when he is hurt? Don’t you think Atlanta would love to put Jurrjens on the roster later in the series? Or how about the Yankers keeping Burnett on the roster just in case Pettitte tweaks his hammy? It is a BS move any way you look at it. You can defend the Rays, but I think you can tell from the other comments that I am not alone in thinking this.

  12. Fordman84 - Oct 7, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    Bone fracture? What are you talking about? They are attributing it to “leg fatigue”. Good luck proving that his left leg isn’t tired.

  13. doctorfunke - Oct 7, 2010 at 2:33 PM

    I don’t know if we’re talking about the same thing here. If Pettitte gets hurt, then the Yankees can replace him. If Jurrjens gets healthy, then the Bravos can add him for next round, or if someone else gets hurt. Then if Jurrjens gets hurt again, then they can replace him right? He just can’t come back again.
    If anything, the Rays were taking a chance by keeping Baldelli on the roster. They already know that he has this condition, but I don’t think that this is something that they planned out or did on purpose. He obviously wasn’t lighting the world on fire vs. Lee, so I just don’t see this as something shady. All indications were that he was healthy heading in, so why the shouts of conspiracy?

  14. btberry - Oct 7, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    mis-read it … you’re right – fatigue not fracture

  15. Joe - Oct 7, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    OK, this is really f-ing stupid. If the Rays KNEW that he was hurt and wouldn’t be able to finish the series before the series started, then why the f— would they put him on the roster in the first place? Because they might get an ever-so-slight advantage against Cliff Lee? “Hey, let’s see if Rocco can get lucky against Lee, then we’ll sit him down for the rest of this series – and the next one if we advance – because he won’t be useful for more than one game. But what a game it will be. OMG, we’ve figured out how to expand the roster!!!!”
    Or maybe – just maybe, because it sounds so f—ing implausible on the surface that they wouldn’t be trying to cheat somehow – maybe they thought he would be able to make it through, but he came back today reporting bigger problems than he expected.

  16. Kiwicricket - Oct 7, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    Fantastic! I can’t wait to use that one at work!

  17. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 7, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    Joe, it doesn’t even matter if the Rays thought about it. I am sure they did not. I am sure they were simply taking a chance the Baldelli would be fine. And he was not. His fatigue came back. The problem here is that he was suffering from fatigue all season, and only got 25 major league PAs. The spirit of the rule is to allow someone to change their roster is someone gets hurt during the series…not someone, like Baldelli, coming into the series banged up already. I am not saying the Rays are cheating. I am saying this is BS. They shouldn’t be allowed to put a guy on the roster who already was banged up, didn’t do anything except actually play to get himself banged up again, and then was allowed to put another player on the roster to take his place. The roster should be in stone, except for major injuries that occur on the playing field. Not for a guy who simply got fatigued, which is what he already was. In all, it probably won’t matter because the Rays are looking in big trouble right now. They lose today, with Lee pitching one more game in the series, they are probably finished.

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