06/23/09 7:30 AM EST
Yanks protest game over lineup snafu
Confusion arises in eighth from Marlins' double-switch
By Joe Frisaro and Anthony DiComo / MLB.com
The Yankees have protested the game due to confusion created by a Marlins' double-switch in the top of the eighth inning.
New York formally filed the protest on Monday. MLB vice president of public relations Pat Courtney confirmed to The Associated Press that the Yankees met the filing deadline and said that MLB president and chief operating officer Bob DuPuy will rule on the protest. A decision is expected this week.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Marlins pinch-hit outfielder Alejandro De Aza for pitcher Renyel Pinto, who was batting ninth. When the inning ended, Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez made a double-switch. Reliever Leo Nunez entered the game, and Chris Coghlan remained in left field.
Nunez threw one pitch to Derek Jeter, a called strike. At that point, Yankees manager Joe Girardi brought to the attention of home plate umpire Tim Timmons that Coghlan was supposed to be out of the game, with De Aza in left field.
For more than five minutes play was delayed, eventually with Coghlan leaving the field. De Aza headed to left field, only to be replaced by Jeremy Hermida.
After more discussion, it was determined that both Coghlan and De Aza were no longer available. So the mistake cost the Marlins two players, with Hermida remaining in the game and slotted ninth. Nunez was placed in the leadoff spot.
Crew chief Jeff Kellogg told MLB.com after the game that the umpires are filing an incident report to Major League Baseball. He didn't elaborate on anything specific.
"We're going to file an incident report, and all that," Kellogg said. "The protest is over the pitcher should have been removed from the game, or the pitch should not have counted. That's the protest. Either or. One or the other should have happened.
"It goes to the league, and they will review everything. They will make a determination after that."
What the Yankees are hoping is the game is resumed from the top of the eighth inning, no outs, with the Marlins ahead, 6-3.
When Girardi was asked if he hoped the Yankees would return to Miami to resume the game in the eighth inning, he responded: "I do."
"I know they put Nunez in the one spot. And De Aza was supposed to stay in the game," Girardi said. "They have never seen it before. So that's why I protested it, and it's something that we just need to clear up what the ruling is."
None of the four umpires working the game -- Timmons, Kellogg, Rob Drake or Mark Wegner -- said they've seen a similar situation.
Essentially, the Marlins' punishment was losing two players.
Gonzalez called the situation embarrassing.
"As soon as [Girardi] went out, I looked around wondering, 'What happened?'" Gonzalez said. "I looked around, and I see Coghlan out there in left. My heart dropped -- it really did. It's an embarrassing thing in the Major Leagues. It's not good. It's my responsibility."
Gonzalez claims Nunez shouldn't have been punished, because he was entering the game anyway.
"Nunez has got to stay in the game, he's coming in," Gonzalez said. "Either he hits first, or he hits ninth. None of those spots came back up again.
"I asked [Timmons], 'Where is the correct way to put him?' He said, 'Leave him right there.' We believe the umpires got it right. They got together."
If the protest is denied, the Marlins would have taken two of three in the Interleague series. If the league decides to pick up play in the eighth, then a date would have to be determined on when New York would come back.
Girardi felt Sunday's situation was similar to one earlier in the year, when Rays manager Joe Maddon had a mixup with his designated hitter, resulting in Evan Longoria not starting.
"To me, it seems kind of similar to the situation with the third basemen, where the guy who played the field was the guy who stayed," Girardi said. "Coghlan was the first guy in the first slot in the batting order. And then they put the pitcher in. So I think the first guy should stay. We wrote it up. I spent some time on the phone yesterday going through it."