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Major League Baseball says umpires shouldn't have let Evan Longoria play after Tampa Bay Rays goofed on lineup card

MIAMI — Turns out Rays manager Joe Maddon and his staff weren't the only ones to make a mistake in last Sunday's lineup mixup game with Cleveland.

The umpires were wrong in allowing Evan Longoria to remain eligible to play, MLB umpiring vice president Mike Port told the St. Petersburg Times on Saturday after a review of the rulings.

The Rays goofed first, submitting a lineup card that had both Ben Zobrist and Longoria playing third; Longoria was to be the DH. Cleveland manager Eric Wedge pointed it out after Zobrist played the field in the top of the first, and the umpires, after extensive huddling, ruled that the Rays lost the DH. That meant RHP Andy Sonnanstine would have to hit third, but they could use Lon­goria later, which they did, as he played defense for the final 31/3 innings and walked.

"After review, it is our consensus that Evan Longoria should not have been allowed to (later) enter the game," Port wrote in an e-mail.

Had Longoria been ruled ineligible, Maddon said: "I would have argued but I don't know how strongly. When you know you've screwed up, you almost feel like you deserve punishment."

Also, Port said, the umpires erred in not catching the mistake when third-base coach Tom Foley presented the card in the pregame meeting — though the session was abbreviated because the Rays had taken the field, with a local youth team, and home-plate umpire Ted Barrett wanted to get behind the plate for Sonnanstine's warmup tosses.

"The lineup problem should have been caught by the plate umpire when the lineup cards were presented," Port wrote. "No excuse intended, but it is my understanding there were some distractions that took the umpire out of his usual home-plate meeting agenda. … Beyond that, the rules provide that 'Teams should not be "trapped" later by some mistake that obviously was inadvertent and which can be corrected before the game starts.' "

Port said the umpires "fashioned what they felt was the best and fairest remedy at that moment" and that all crews have since been reminded about the importance of the pregame meeting "and to make sure lineup cards are accurate" before the game starts.

The Thayer: RHP Dale Thayer has had a memorable couple of days in the majors.

Friday, he worked three solid innings and became the first Ray to earn a save in his debut, with a game ball as a keepsake, and got an at-bat.

Saturday, teammates showed their appreciation by donning fake mustaches in tribute to his real one. "We thoroughly enjoyed Thayer's mustache and wanted to make him feel welcome," Sonnanstine said.

Rehab report: Maddon exchanged text messages with RHP Troy Percival but had no update on his condition or potential retirement: "He's back out (in California), he's doing fine, we're just going to stay in touch." … LHP Scott Kazmir was sent back to St. Petersburg to start rehab on his right quad strain. … RHP Chad Bradford, recovering from elbow surgery, is scheduled for his first rehab game today with Class A Charlotte.

Day of rest: Just more than halfway through another stretch of 20 consecutive games, Maddon gave partial days off to 1B Carlos Peña and 2B Akinori Iwamura (who entered in the seventh) and a full day to C Dioner Navarro. He was thinking of giving SS Jason Bartlett today off, with Reid Brignac starting, before Longoria was hit by a pitch.

Miscellany: LHP David Price — no surprise — was scratched from his scheduled Triple-A start, keeping him on track to join the rotation Monday in Cleveland. … Carl Crawford stole his MLB-leading 26th bases and 28th overall in a row. … Bartlett extended his hitting streak to nine games. … The Rays have won seven straight at what is now Land Shark Stadium, outscoring the Marlins 68-19. … There is still no timetable for the announcement of Maddon's new three-year contract, and also no snags, just a matter of finalizing details and timing. … Valrico and USF's Carlos Tosca managed the Marlins in place of Fredi Gonzalez, who attended his daughter's high school graduation.

Major League Baseball says umpires shouldn't have let Evan Longoria play after Tampa Bay Rays goofed on lineup card 05/23/09 [Last modified: Sunday, May 24, 2009 8:02am]
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