La Russa let Hendriks run bases because he didn't know extra-inning rule
Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa admitted he wasn't aware of a specific wrinkle in the extra-innings rule in which a runner automatically starts the inning on second base, according to James Fegan of The Athletic.
The veteran skipper thought the batter in the previous spot in the lineup had to open the inning at second base no matter what, so Liam Hendriks assumed baserunning duties in the 10th inning of Wednesday's tie game against the Cincinnati Reds. Hendriks was in the fifth spot in the lineup due to a double switch the inning before.
The official rule includes an exception to prevent pitchers from being used in this situation. La Russa could have placed Jose Abreu, the runner ahead of Hendriks in the lineup, on second instead.
The runner placed on second base at the start of each half-inning shall be the player (or a substitute for such player) in the batting order immediately preceding that half-inning’s leadoff hitter. By way of example, if the number five hitter in the batting order is due to lead off the tenth inning, the number four player in the batting order (or a pinchrunner for such player) shall begin the inning on second base. However, if the player in the batting order immediately preceding that half-inning’s leadoff hitter is the pitcher, the runner placed on second base at the start of that half-inning may be the player preceding the pitcher in the batting order.
Reds manager David Bell said he knew and understood the rule and its application.
"(The) league made it really clear that it was going to be a new rule in spring training," Bell said, according to C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic.
The White Sox didn't score in the inning and the Reds ultimately won in the bottom half when Hendriks allowed the winning run to score on a single by outfielder Jesse Winker.