PITTSBURGH -- The initial idea behind expanding September rosters seemed simple enough. Give young players a taste of the big leagues while allowing clubs to further evaluate the talent from the upper levels of the Minor League system.
But after watching 41 players be used in a nine-inning game between the Pirates and Cardinals on Monday, manager Clint Hurdle questioned the fairness of having what sometimes seems as an unlimited number of available players in games that are critical for several clubs this month. Right now that list includes the Cardinals.
"I made five straight switches in the eighth inning," said Hurdle, who used two pinch-runners and three pinch-hitters in that game-changing inning. "We're playing by the rules. Everybody's done it. I really hope there comes a point where we're going to play the same game for six months. You don't have the luxury to do what I did in the eighth inning in a regular-season game [before September]."
On the other side, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa used three different pitchers in the eighth, had three different players play center field in the game and moved Skip Schumaker to three different positions in the span of three innings. Having 10 bench players and nine relievers allowed for such liberal flexibility.
What Hurdle suggests -- and he's not the first to do so -- is that September callups continue, but with a caveat. One idea Hurdle proposed was for each club to submit a roster of players who are in play on a given night. This would allow a club to continue to carry as many as 40 players, but only a specific number of those players would be on a night's active roster.
Joe Torre, who serves as Major League Baseball's executive vice president of baseball operations, discussed ideas of how to revamp September roster rules while visiting with all 30 clubs during Spring Training. Even still, Hurdle said he did not sense that any changes are imminent.