A Case Against the DH
One of the greatest debates in baseball is whether or not we need a designated hitter (DH). The American League has been using a DH since 1973, which eliminates the pitcher from the batting lineup. That is until yesterday when Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon mistakingly assigned two players to third base on the lineup card. Evan Longoria was supposed to DH, but the error cost the Rays that spot in the lineup… forcing pitcher Andy Sonnanstine to bat 3rd in the lineup. This was the first time since 1968 that a pitcher had batted higher than seventh in the lineup.
From the Tampa Tribune:
“Pitching coach Jim Hickey came down and told me that I was going to have to hit and I corrected him and told him I was going to get to hit,” Sonnanstine said.
The Rays’ most dangerous pitcher with a bat in his hands, the lefty-swinging Sonnanstine took advantage, lofting a two-out double over LF Ryan Garko’s(notes) head to cap a five-run fourth inning.
“All the other pitchers want to start paying us off now to make the same mistake so they can hit also,” said Maddon, who took full responsibility for what happened.
Sonnanstine held his own though, going 1-3 with a RBI double in the fourth inning. The Rays won the game 7-5, so you could say for the first time in 30+ years, an AL pitcher in an AL park actually helped his own cause.