In the eighth inning of Monday night's game between the Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays, manager Joe Maddon found himself in a pickle. He had used Sam Fuld to pinch hit for pitcher J.P. Howell in the top of the eighth inning, yet he hadn't had enough time to warm up another reliever in the bullpen. He needed to stall for some time.
And so, Maddon did the most logical thing: he sent Fuld to the mound to warm up for the eighth. Considering Fuld had entered the game as a pinch-hitter for the pitcher, it was completely within the rules for Maddon to send Fuld to the mound (although quite unorthodox), and it allowed Maddon the flexibility to remove Fuld from the game without facing a single batter. After Fuld had warmed up, Cesar Ramos was fully warm in the bullpen and Maddon was able to make the switch.
Some people have called Maddon out as making a "bush league" move, but he was just working within the rules, right? If it's a silly rule, so be it, but I'm not sure I see the issue with a manager using every rule he can to give his team a personal advantage.
Personally, I'm not a fan of having the pitcher hit, necessitating complicated roster moves like this one, and I'd much rather that both leagues simply went to using a Designated Hitter. That's completely my opinion and I know there are some people that love National League play, but I don't understand the appeal in having pitchers bat. Why would I want to watch inferior batters hit, especially when having the pitchers hit can sometimes result in a star pitcher leaving a game earlier than they would in the AL? I grew up with the DH, though, so I say bring it on.
But anyway, I digress. For a video of Fuld's brief mound appearance, check out the game recap on MLB.com.