It is reportedly the first time it has ever happened
at a Major League Baseball game:
A player who left a game came back in.
This is disallowed by the rules, yet nobody noticed.
But did it happen?
The Red Sox were losing 16–3 in the top of the ninth.
To avoid tiring out their pitchers, the team chose to have their
first baseman Mitch Moreland take over as the pitcher.¹
The game was played in a league which permits a special
player called the
who bats in place of the pitcher.²
If a player in the field takes over
as the pitcher, the team loses the
Designated Hitter for the remainder of the game,
and the player who enters the game to replace the vacated position
(in this case, first base) is considered
to have substituted for the Designated Hitter,
batting in seventh position in this case.
As the game drew to a close,
it came time for the player in seventh position to come to bat,
but instead of the replacement first baseman,
the original Designated Hitter Chris Young came to the plate.
(He hit a single, later advanced to second base, but made no
further progress by the time the game ended.)
Under the rules of baseball, a player who has been replaced
may not return to the game,
but there it just happened.
And nobody said anything.
the Orioles noticed but chose not to say anything.)
What makes this confusing is that I've seen two different game
summaries, and they disagree as to whether Chris Young actually
left the game.
this game summary,
if you go to Play-By-Play and
scroll down to Baltimore Orioles – Top of 9th,
||H.Ramirez in as first baseman.
||Team loses designated hitter.
||C.Young in as left fielder.
According to this game summary, Young did not exit the game
but took over in left field.
This is permitted according to the rules,
in which case he retains his position in the batting order,
the new first baseman (Ramirez) takes over the batting position
of the former left fielder.
If that game summary is correct, then nothing improper happened.
It was definitely unusual, but no rules were broken.
On the other hand,
this game summary
does not mention that Young entered the game on defense.
If that second summary is correct,
then we indeed have a case of a player who left a game
magically returning to it.
Does anybody know what actually happened?
The organization that runs professional baseball in the United States
is called Major League Baseball,
which is a bit of a misnomer because it actually a consists
of two top-level leagues (the so-called National League
as well as a number of lower-level minor leagues,
so it should more properly be called
Major Leagues Baseball.
But nobody calls it that.
position players are increasingly being called upon to pitch.
This has historically been an uncommon occurrence and a
source of amusement
because, as a general rule,
non-pitchers are not very good at pitching;
that's why they're not pitchers.
It typically occurs only in lopsided games where the team
doesn't want to tire out their pitchers in a lost cause.
As a general rule, pitchers are very poor at batting.
To make the game more interesting, one of the professional leagues
introduced a rule that allows a team to nominate another player to
bat in place of the pitcher.
Some people think this is a stupid rule.