Rocco has to bow out of ALDS
A day after Rocco Baldelli got the good news — he was part of the Rays’ roster and starting lineup for Game 1 of the Division Series — he had to come off the roster for Game 2.
More than likely, Baldelli’s season is over, and his career could well be also. The continual bout with excessive muscle fatigue began to flare up on the classy outfielder in the moments leading up to Game 1. He still played, despite cramping in his left leg, but had no impact on the game, going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
Baldelli was clearly down when he spoke with the media.
“Well, the last day or so has been very disappointing for me, to say the least,” . It’s not something that I anticipated. I have generally been feeling pretty good and been happy with the way things have gone on the field. Just to be sitting here and talking to you guys is definitely — it’s not something I really wanted to be doing.”
Baldelli then went over the time-line of events.
“A lot of things that happened to me and the way my body feels are — sometimes it’s work related and sometimes it’s not, and I really don’t have very good ways to explain why it happens,” Baldelli said. “But what happened is when I was getting loose for the game yesterday, my left hamstring for the most part it was my left hamstring that started to cramp up a little bit while I was just jogging back and forth.
“During the game in the batting cage, where I do most of my work when I’m DHing, it cramped up, started to cramp up again. And then in my last at bat that I took, it cramped up in the box while I was swinging. At that point I knew I was probably not in good shape.
“And after the game I had some discussions with our guys, and I showed up today early and went out in the cage, and I hit and I tried to do some running, and it was a situation where I wasn’t going to be able to go out there and play. I felt like I had a responsibility to the team to make sure that whoever was out there was able to play.”
Baldelli is not eligible to play again until the World Series if the Rays get that far. But Andrew Friedman, Tampa Bay’s head of baseball operations, basically said that it’s a long shot Baldelli will play again this season. As for his career?
Baldelli said he would huddle with his family once the sesaon ends.
His love for the game is obviously what has kept him going to this point, through so many setbacks.
“I love playing, so I really don’t know anything else to do, and it sounds, I guess, kind of simplistic and even silly,” Baldelli said. “But it’s what I like doing, so I keep coming back. It’s been difficult, but I think it’s all generally worth it. It’s all been worth it, everything that I’ve gone through and come back from, even if it’s coming back for September and getting to watch my teammates right now. I would do it all over again.”
Baldelli is 29 years old. If he can no longer play, he can resume his duties in the Rays organization. Baldelli had been working as an instructor for the Rays before making his latest comeback
The Rays inserted Willy Aybar as a roster replacement for Baldelli. And it was Aybar who got the start at DH in Game 2.