In one of many strange moments last year, Joe Maddon had pinch-hitter Sam Fuld stay in a game and warm up on the mound to allow Cesar Ramos more time in the bullpen to get ready. The Associated Press now says Major League Baseball has adopted a new rule that the AP believes was created to stop situations like this.
According to the AP, the new rule, which they are calling the “Maddon Rule,” 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 game.”
But we are not sure if this new rule has anything to do with the Sam Fuld incident as the AP tries to paint.
At the time we wondered if Maddon’s move was illegal. After all, there is already a rule that states a pitcher must face one batter unless he is injured. And the umpires claimed they were told that Fuld was hurt and that was why he never faced a batter.
But how is the new rule going to keep somebody from warming up and faking an injury? It can’t. And it won’t. The umpires are not doctors and they can’t risk forcing an injured player to pitch.
No, the rule was not aimed at stopping Maddon’s trickery. Re-read the wording above. Fuld wasn’t a “current pitcher.” He was a pinch hitter. This rule appears to be aimed at something far more common.
Often, managers will simply have the pitcher from the previous inning go out to the mound to buy some time. That pitcher will then be replaced once the relief pitcher is ready. It happens all the time and needlessly lengthens the games. Major League Baseball is trying to stop that.
In other words, MLB is not trying to stop sly ol’ Joe Maddon. They are trying to speed up the game. But we guess that isn’t as sexy as “The Maddon Rule.”
But in the end, we still don’t know how they will enforce it. Instead, we will just see more pitchers go out and then “get hurt” while warming up. In other words, The Maddon Rule won’t change a thing.