Yesterday, we thought it was a bit strange that Rocco Baldelli was on the ALDS roster and Willy Aybar was not. Well, it turns out, Joe Maddon may have just wanted Rocco for game 1 to face the lefty Cliff Lee.
Marc Topkin is reporting that the Rays today removed Rocco from the ALDS roster for medical reasons, and replaced him with Aybar. Aybar will DH today. Also, Ben Zobrist is playing first base today with Carlos Pena out of the lineup. Desmond Jennings will start in right field.
We can’t help but wonder if this was Maddon’s Mad plan all along. In order to replace Baldelli, the Rays would have had to petition Major League Baseball. But with Rocco’s on-going medical condition, the Rays were probably confident the move would be approved. By being replaced, Rocco is not eligible for a potential ALCS roster.