Baseball’s rules can be pretty intricate, and knowing all of them can be tough — even for players.
That apparently goes double for players switching from the American League to the National League, as first-year Washington outfielder Denard Span learned Sunday.
After the Nats pinch-hit for starter Gio Gonzalez and made a double-switch for pitcher Zach Duke in the fifth inning, Span thought that he was being benched when informed that he was no longer in the game.
“I’m like, ‘Did I not hustle? What did I do?’ ” Span said after the game. “I didn’t know what was going on. I’ve never been pulled out of the game like that. I’m still learning. Honestly, I’m starting to kind of understand it, but I still don’t fully understand it. I understand what’s going on, obviously. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”
The strategy behind the double switch is to allow a pitcher the longest time possible without having his turn at bat. Since Span made the last out of the inning, he was the candidate to get swapped out for Duke’s spot in the lineup.
“I thought maybe I got benched,” Span continued. “I was like, ‘What did I do?’ They had to break it down to me, let me know what was going on. Even though I still don’t understand. I just shook my head and took a seat.”
While he’s been taught the rules now, Span doesn’t seem too confident in his ability to keep them straight. If he ever becomes a manager after his playing days are over, he promised it would be in the American League.