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Rays

Maddon apologizes for blunder

Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 01:35 PM
MILWAUKEE -

As it turns out, LF Sam Fuld was supposed to face at least one batter Monday after he warmed up on the mound prior to the start of the bottom of the eighth inning, and manager Joe Maddon apologized for the confusion that followed.

"It was a very innocent, non-evil mistake on my part," Maddon said before Tuesday's game at Miller Park.

Fuld pinch hit for LHP J.P. Howell in the top of the inning, and Maddon planned on using RHP Joel Peralta. But a two-out, three-run homer by 3B Evan Longoria turned a 5-1 lead into an 8-1 game, so Maddon called for LHP Cesar Ramos to start warming up.

CF B.J. Upton struck out on three pitches, which brought the inning to an end quicker than Maddon anticipated, so he told Fuld to go to the mound and warm up to buy Ramos more time. After Fuld threw his warm-up pitches, Maddon called for Ramos.

According to the rules, Fuld should have faced a batter. Home plate umpire Bob Davidson either wasn't aware of that or didn't enforce it. Crew chief Jerry Layne indicated after the game to a pool reporter that the umpires understood Fuld was taken out of the game because of a sore arm.

Maddon said that was not the case. He was just stalling.

"We got away with violating a rule," Maddon said. "There was no shenanigans, no misinformation. I just think there was a miscommunication between me and Bob, that's all. And quite frankly, I don't understand why there is such a big deal being made out of it. It was a total honest mistake."

Maddon said he received a call from Joe Torre, the executive vice president of baseball operations for MLB, on Tuesday afternoon. He also apologized to the umpires and spent 10 minutes during batting practice talking with Brewers manager Ron Roenicke.

Roenicke told reporters he didn't have a problem with Maddon's move.

"I don't have a problem when you're trying to protect a pitcher from coming in and throwing, and reducing the risk of an injury," Roenicke said. "I don't care if it's on the other side or not. It's not that pitcher's fault in the bullpen. If he comes in and needs more time, that doesn't bother me."

Maddon said Fuld would have faced a batter if Davidson enforced the rule. Fuld said it would have been a dream come true to pitch in a big-league game.

"I was throwing strikes. I was hitting the zone. I was ready to get a guy out. I had some adrenaline going, that's for sure," Fuld said.

Maddon did say he wasn't gambling on Davidson not enforcing the rule.

"I was not totally aware of the rule like that," Maddon said. "Because (Fuld) had been in the game as a pinch-hitter, I wasn't sure. I wasn't unsure. I really thought I would be able to do what I did, so I am very culpable in this situation."

Shields shuffle

Maddon shuffled the rotation for this weekend's series in Houston, flipping RHP James Shields and RHP Wade Davis, so Shields starts Friday on five days' rest.

By doing that, Shields will get four more starts before the All-Star break.

"The driving force is to maximize, optimize our using of Shields and David (Price) against what we perceive to be the appropriate team," Maddon said.

If Shields stays on a five-day schedule, he will make his final start of the first half the Saturday before the All-Star break, which makes him eligible to pitch in the game if he is selected for the team.

Angry David

Price takes the mound this afternoon winless in his past two starts. That has happened twice before this season, and both times Price responded with strong outings for a win.

"It's been rough," he said. "It's part of (pitching in the majors). Everybody's going to go through this at some point throughout the year. You have to bounce back from it."

Maddon said he noticed a bit more intensity in Price, who walked five and allowed three runs in five innings against the Red Sox during his last outing.

"He's been fun, but he hasn't been as much fun. He did not like his last outing," Maddon said.

Call that relief?

RHP Jeff Niemann needed 85 pitches to get through his six innings during Monday's win. The four relievers who followed — Howell, Ramos, Peralta and RHP Kyle Farnsworth — combined to throw 84 pitches in three innings.

"I give the Brewers a lot of credit for that," Maddon said. "They fouled off a lot of two-strike pitches. They worked some good at-bats."

Said Howell: "They didn't quit like some teams would down 8-1. They kept playing hard."

Sgt. Baitinger honored

The Brewers presented the family of St. Petersburg Police Sgt. Thomas Baitinger, killed in January along with officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz in the line of duty, with a Milwaukee jersey before the game. Sgt. Baitinger was a Wisconsin native.

Noteworthy

Pitching coach Jim Hickey returned to the team after missing Monday's game because of a fire in the garage of his St. Cloud home. … DH Johnny Damon got another start in left field. … RHP Jeremy Hellickson extended the hitless streak of Rays pitchers this season to 0-for-12 after striking out during his first two at-bats Tuesday.

Roger Mooney

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