Oct 7, 2010, 12:45 PM EDT
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.
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