MLB tweaks rule to prevent stalling for relievers
Maybe this should be the Joe Maddon Rule.
A season after the Tampa Bay manager put outfielder Sam Fuld to
the mound to warm up for the sole purpose of giving a reliever
extra time in the bullpen, Major League Baseball closed the
MLB has amended Official Baseball Rule 3.05 regarding such
shenanigans. The change will ”prohibit a manager from sending his
current pitcher out to warm up with no intention of having him
pitch because a relief pitcher is not ready to enter the
The Playing Rules Committee proposed the tweak in the offseason
and it was approved by MLB, the players’ union and umpires.
Maddon hadn’t heard about the change until being asked this
”I know this, that all the odd kind of moments that occur
during the season regarding umpiring, that they do write them down,
and they’ll talk about it at the end of the season. So, it doesn’t
surprise me. And it also indicates that they’re on top of things,
so I kind of like it,” he said at the Rays’ spring training
”That was an anomaly. That’ll probably never come up again,”
he added. ”The other thing with Sammy. That was just something
that we pulled out of our hat, just to try to make sure that we got
everybody warmed up and ready to go.”
The Rays were playing at Milwaukee last June when the episode
occurred. Fuld pinch-hit for reliever J.P. Howell in the top of the
eighth inning and Tampa Bay scored three runs to take an 8-1
Maddon had planned on using reliever Joel Peralta while the game
was close. Once the Rays pulled away, Maddon wanted Cesar Ramos to
pitch in the bottom half.
But because Ramos wasn’t ready, Maddon sent Fuld – who batted in
the pitcher’s spot but has not actually pitched since high school –
to the mound to warm up. Once Fuld was done, Maddon brought in
The next day, after the Rays won 8-4, Maddon admitted he’d
fudged things and apologized to the umpiring crew.
The rules committee, composed of executives, former players and
an umpire, recently made a few other adjustments, none major.
Bats with a scooped end on the barrel can have an indentation of
1 1/4 inches, up from 1 inch. And the word ”baseline” has been
replaced in spots by ”base path.”
Also, the process for appealing an official scorer’s ruling has
been changed. In the past, a team’s public relations employee would
often ask the scorer to review a call. Now, a player’s agent will
work with the union to appeal, then there will be a process between
MLB and the union to reach a decision.
Maddon, meanwhile, still had some questions about the reliever
”How do they know the intentions are not to pitch him? How
would you know that? You could easily leave him in there for one
hitter if you had to,” he said.
”My concern would be you could still send out your previous
inning’s pitcher to warm up and then pull him out of the game
before the first batter. That’s still OK, correct?”
Maddon was more certain on what to call the new 3.05 rule – as
in, don’t name it for him.
”Oh! Stay with the number,” he said, laughing. ”No, make it
the Sam Fuld Rule. I’m good with that.”
AP Sports Writer Fred Goodall in Port Charlotte, Fla.,
contributed to this report.