ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- After a 21-minute delay in the midst of what would be a 3-2 Rays win over the Red Sox at Tropicana Field Wednesday afternoon, the umpires attempted to explain to both Red Sox manager Alex Cora and his Tampa Bay counterpart Kevin Cash why Adam Kolarek was placed in the lineup where he was.
Kolarek had gone from pitcher, to first base back to pitcher, with Cora disputing the initial lineup card presented by crew chief Angel Hernandez after the move was made.
The Red Sox assertion was that the first lineup card they saw after the switch didn't have Kolarek listed, a job that had fallen to Hernandez after Cash failed to identify where he wanted his player to hit. Later, after the umpires' consultation, the correct version of the batting order was presented.
All of it led to a protest by the Red Sox and a pool reporter interviewing Hernandez:
Q: When Cash brought (Chaz) Roe in the game and moved Kolarek to first base, where did he say Kolarek was hitting in the lineup?
Hernandez: He didn't tell me.
Q: What was Cora's contention?
Hernandez: The dispute on the field was about what the batting order was following the pitcher going to a defensive position. So the rule: Pitcher moving to a defensive position, Rule 5:11, if a game's pitcher is switched from the mound to a defensive position this move shall terminate the designated hitter role for the remainder of the game. The pitcher just removed from the mound may bat in the designated hitter's spot in the batting order or, if more than one defensive change is made, the pitcher may bat in place of any of the substituted players. The manager shall designate the place in the batting order to the umpire.
Q: So what did Cora want you to do?
Hernandez: He wanted to know what was going on, so we told him it didn't alter the outcome of anything that had happened so far. What we did, which is Rule 5:10.b, in case the manager fails or refuses to make a decision, the plate umpire is authorized to decide the necessary batting order. The umpire's decision is final.
Q: So that doesn't leave much room to protest, does it?
Hernandez: Exactly, that's what we were trying to tell him. But he wanted to protest. We went to the headsets to verify. But it takes a long time to explain that, as you saw, and then to check with replay.