Sun May 17 03:46pm EDT
Due to a small clerical error - that's right, a clerical error - the Rays lost their DH and the .343-hitting Longoria was forced to the bench. Details here, via the Tampa Tribune:
Manager Joe Maddon planned to have Longoria serve as the DH in the series finale against the Indians with Ben Zobrist(notes) playing third base. The lineup was listed that way on the card in the Rays' clubhouse, but apparently not on the official sheet provided to the umpires and the Indians before the game. ...
Eventually word of what had happened filtered out. The Rays had listed both Longoria and Zobrist as third basemen on the official card. Because Zobrist had already played, the Rays had to forfeit the DH slot and have the pitcher bat in what would have been Longoria's slot – third in the batting order.
The pitcher in question is Andy Sonnanstine(notes). He actually entered Sunday's game with five hits (all singles) in 11 career at-bats, including post-season play. But still, it wouldn't seem ideal for an American League squad to have their pitcher batting third.
Sonnanstine's next scheduled start is actually an interleague game at Florida on Friday, so the Rays get to keep his scorching hot bat in the lineup. It's tough to drop him from the No. 3 spot in the batting order, really. Dude's on fire. They didn't give Joe Maddon the Manager of the Year Award for nothin'.
Update: Apparently all we had to do was complain. Longoria came into the game on a double-switch in the top of the sixth, then drew a walk in the bottom half of the inning (and was promptly picked-off). Some of us really could have used Sonnanstine's RBI...
Photo via AP Images