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09/01/08 9:13 PM ET
Riggleman dislikes more than 25
Mariners skipper doesn't understand why rules change
By Jim Street / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Mariners manager Jim Riggleman has nothing against promoting players from the Minor Leagues for the final month of the regular season, but he believes every game should be played with a 25-man roster. "Don't misunderstand me," Riggleman said on Monday. "I like the idea that they expand the rosters, but to me, both teams should have 25-player rosters on a nightly basis. [Each team] would have to designate who the 25 are, so the basic strategies of the game don't change. "You play the game a certain way for five months, and then all of a sudden the rules are changed. Is there any other sport that does this?" The answer is no. The rules changed Monday, when Major League teams were allowed to expand their rosters from 25 to as many as 40 players. The Mariners added two players on Monday -- left-handed pitcher Justin Thomas and infielder Luis Valbuena -- and will add five more Tuesday. The Rangers also promoted two players Monday and are expected to add one more Tuesday. "I think it's a great opportunity for young players to come up and display their skills, but you go from an 11- or 12-man pitching staff to maybe 17, have way more pinch-hitters, baserunners and defensive replacements than you should have," Riggleman said. Teams competing for postseason spots could end up with a huge disadvantage when it comes to a numbers game. A non-contending team might promote as many as 14 players, removing some of the strategy moves that were used during the first five months of the season. "In some cases, obviously, playoff spots and pennant races are determined in September, and the best managers of the game try to use the same strategies they've used all along to get the matchups they want, and it all goes out the window in September," Riggleman said. "I don't like it. "Not everyone brings up the same amount of players. If you are in a pennant race, you are not going to want to change the dynamics of the clubhouse a great deal, so you may bring up fewer players. If you are down in the standings, you may bring up a lot of extra players. What you could get is on a day the club with fewer players is trying to get into the playoffs and the manager is trying to tie the other manager's hands with strategical moves, he can't do it because the other manager has too many weapons to use." Riggleman said it would take "a little thought to make it work, but changing the rules during the most important month of the season is something I've never liked."
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.