Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Baldelli off ALDS roster, replaced by Aybar
Posted Oct 7, 2010 by Roger Mooney
Updated Oct 7, 2010 at 12:09 PM
By ROGER MOONEY
ST. PETERSBURG The muscle cramps and fatigue that has plagued Rocco Baldelli’s career during the past three seasons returned after Wednesday’s game and has forced the Rays designated hitter to be removed from the team’s American League Division Series roster.
Willy Aybar has been added to the roster and will be the DH today for Game 2 of the ALDS against the visiting Rangers. Baldelli is now ineligible for the ALCS roster should the Rays advance to the next round.
Baldelli, who was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in Wednesday’s 5-1 loss, alerted the Rays to his condition after the game. He tried to hit in the cage this morning, but the pain was too much, according to manager Joe Maddon.
“He just went and hit and realized it that it’s not going to work,” Maddon said this morning.
Baldelli suffers from mitochondrial disorder, which is a protein irregularity that cause cramps and fatigue in his leg muscles. He controls it with medication and by limiting what he does on the field.
The condition has not been a problem this season, though Baldelli received very limited playing time since joining the team Sept. 1 – 24 at-bats in 10 games.
The Rays were encouraged by Baldelli’s play in Sunday’s win at Kansas City when he entered the game in the 12th inning as a pinch-hitter, singled, stole second base and scored the go-ahead run on an error.
Baldelli made the ALDS roster over Aybar because the Rays felt Baldelli gave them more options at DH and in right field.
“Even the stolen base in Kansas City perked us up even a bit more, and the fact he scored on the ball hit to left field, all those things were positive signs,” Maddon said. “But with his condition, anything can pop at any time and it did. It’s unfortunate.”