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Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon takes blame for lineup card mistake

ST. PETERSBURG — Quality assurance coach Todd Greene usually inputs and prints the lineup card and bench coach Dave Martinez checks it. But manager Joe Maddon's signature is at the bottom, which means he's at the top of the list to blame for Sunday's mixup.

"It was my mistake. … It was my fault," Maddon said. "I screwed up. Nobody else did."

The computer-printed card had No. 5s — the position number for third base — next to the names of Evan Longoria, the usual starter who was to be the DH Sunday, and Ben Zobrist, who was supposed to play third. The program even circles the position next to the name of the DH as a reminder.

The Indians waited until Zobrist played third in the top of the first to point out the mistake. The Rays lost the DH and had to put pitcher Andy Sonnanstine in the No. 3 spot, where he'd last hit "maybe" in Little League

"Designated (hitter) has to be designated on the lineup cards, and he wasn't," umpire crew chief Tim McClelland said. "That was just a mis-write, so to speak."

Umpires talked with Indians manager Eric Wedge, then moved to the Rays side of the field. "My immediate thought was, take your card out of your back pocket, and I did. And it said two 5s … and I said, 'Oh no,' " Maddon said.

Players, Maddon said, "pretty much rallied around the situation. Everyone was very supportive, almost to the point where it was getting syrupy and disgusting."

Maddon said he'd made a similar mistake in Midland, Texas, in 1985, when he listed two players named Davis at shortstop; one was supposed to be the catcher.

"That was more understandable, two Davises," he said. "This was unacceptable."

fast facts

Historic mistake

As a result of the lineup card mistake that forced Andy Sonnanstine to hit third, several odd things happened Sunday, according to the Elias Sports Bureau:

• The last pitcher to bat in an AL game was Matt Garza, for Minnesota on July 6, 2007. DH Joe Mauer replaced injured C Mike Redmond. Garza went 0-for-2.

• The last pitcher in the starting batting order for an AL game was Ken Brett for the White Sox on Sept. 23, 1976, against Minnesota.

• The last pitcher to hit higher than seventh in an AL or NL game was Cesar Tovar on Sept. 22, 1968, when he batted leadoff for the Twins in a game when he would play all nine positions.

Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon takes blame for lineup card mistake 05/17/09 [Last modified: Monday, May 18, 2009 9:55am]
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