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My Rule 3.05(b) mistake

Sometimes a mistake requires its own post. Today's is one of those.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

I'm not perfect. In fact, I often make mistakes. Earlier this week when writing about Shelby Miller tinkering with a sinker, I wrote the wrong percentage breakdown of his sinker and fourseamer usage from his weekend start against the Phillies. So I corrected my mistake and made note of the correction at the bottom of the post.

The reason I do this is that I think it's wrong to hide mistakes. I believe in being forthright with the folks who take the time to read Viva El Birdos. So I document when I make a substantive correction. (Although, I must confess that on typos that don't change the substance of a post, I typically don't make a note of the correction.) Sometimes a correction with a note memorializing it at the bottom of the page is enough; sometimes it's not. My mistake in this morning's post is one of those where a mere correction is not enough, at least in my mind.

Earlier today, I published a post on St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny's decision to have righty Seth Maness face lefthanded-hitting Ike Davis in Tuesday night's game. One of the things I thought Matheny could've done was call on Choate and then yank him after Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle called on Jordy Mercer, a righthanded hitter, to replace Davis. There's just one problem: Matheny could not do that.

MLB Rule 3.05(b) states:

If the pitcher is replaced, the substitute pitcher shall pitch to the batter then at bat, or any substitute batter, until such batter is put out or reaches first base, or until the offensive team is put out, unless the substitute pitcher sustains injury or illness which, in the umpire-in-chief’s judgment, incapacitates him for further play as a pitcher.

It couldn't be clearer. And I'm honestly embarrassed that after decades of watching baseball, playing baseball, and umpiring baseball, I completely forgot about this rule when writing last night's post. That section of my post was wrong. One of the legs to the stool of my reasoning wasn't just wobbly—it was nonexistent.

But does that mean Matheny's decision was the right one? I don't think it does. With the Pirates bench down to two players after Davis was announced as the pinch-hitter in a 2-2 game in the eighth and extra innings a distinct possibility, I still believe Matheny should've forced Hurdle's hand and brought in Choate to either pitch to Mercer (assuming Hurdle, in fact, used him instead of Davis) or give him one of the old nibbling pitch-arounds.

I apologize for my mistake. I'd promise that it won't happen again, but I don't believe in such lies. What I will promise you is that when I make mistakes in the future, I'll tell you about them because I believe you deserve to know as one of our readers.