Amid a testy start to the season - looking at you, Bryan Price; also you, Royals, White Sox and Athletics - comes a bit of managerial creativity sure to put a smile on the face of any innovative Strat-O-Matic player.
More National League teams are at least toying with the idea of batting the pitcher in the No. 8 spot. Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon has done it quite a bit, and the New York Mets, Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies have also given it a try.
It sounds like the type of experiment you'd attempt as a joke in a video game, but there is logic behind the move. Batting the pitcher eighth allows a regular hitter to bat ninth, and the hope is that the top of the order will then come up with somebody already on base, giving the offense a better chance at a big inning.
The drawback is that when the pitcher bats eighth, his spot will come up earlier and more often, in the long run.
The Cubs have used infield prospect Addison Russell in the No. 9 spot lately, while the Diamondbacks put shortstop Nick Ahmed at the bottom of their order a couple times last week.
Arizona manager Chip Hale said he was hoping slugger Paul Goldschmidt - batting third - might get a few more RBI opportunities out of the switch.
"We're just trying to get some more guys on in front of Goldy is what it comes down to," Hale said.
Tony La Russa, who is now an executive in the Arizona organization, would bat his pitcher eighth on occasion when he managed the St. Louis Cardinals.
"What he told me when we talked about it is he did it not trying to change the game, he did it just to try to - they were struggling with offense and getting guys on in front of (Albert) Pujols at the time," Hale said. "And we just want to get some more guys in front of Goldy."
Here are a few other noteworthy developments from around baseball last week:
Kansas City is off to a fine start this year, but manager Ned Yost now has to deal with the fallout from Thursday's brawl against the Chicago White Sox. Pitchers Yordano Ventura (seven games), Edinson Volquez (five) and Kelvin Herrera (two) were suspended along with outfielder Lorenzo Cain (two). Herrera was already appealing a five-game ban from a previous brouhaha against Oakland.
White Sox pitchers Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija were also suspended.
Depending on how the appeal process shakes out, the suspensions could be good news for the Tigers. Detroit faces Kansas City seven times from April 30-May 10, with a three-game series against the White Sox sandwiched in between.
After 19 games last year, Texas was 11-7, so the Rangers are 63-99 in their last 162. Although the injury to Yu Darvish has hurt, it's the offense that is the main culprit so far. Texas is hitting .211 as a team.
It's been a rough start to the season for some of the game's most productive catchers. Jonathan Lucroy, Yan Gomes, Matt Wieters and Travis d'Arnaud are all on the disabled list.
Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki has already homered once in d'Arnaud's absence, and Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph has hit .311 with Wieters still working his way back from elbow surgery.
LINE OF THE WEEK
Felix Hernandez, Mariners, struck out nine in a five-hit shutout to lead Seattle to a 2-0 win over Minnesota on Friday. Hernandez's counterpart, Phil Hughes, also went the distance but fell to 0-4 on the season. Hughes has gotten a total of two runs of support during his four starts.
AP Sports Writer John Marshall contributed to this report.
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Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz dives while trying to tag New York Mets' Lucas Duda, who returned to the plate after failing to tag it during the fifth inning of a baseball game in New York, Tuesday, April 14, 2015. Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg utilized a manager's challenge on the play, but Duda was ruled safe. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Jonathan Maidana of River Plate kicks the ball during a match between River Plate and San Jose as part of Group 6 of Copa Bridgestone Libertadores 2015 at Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti Stadium on April 15, 2015 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Gabriel Rossi/LatinContent/Getty Images)
Minnesota Wild's Zach Parise, bottom, slides into St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series, Thursday, April 16, 2015, in St. Louis. The Blues' Jay Bouwmeester was given a hooking penalty on the play. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
New York Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud tries to tag out Miami Marlins' Ichiro Suzuki at the plate in the seventh inning of a baseball game in New York, Thursday, April 16, 2015. Suzuki was initially ruled out, but after the Marlins challenged the call, Suzuki was ruled safe. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a return to Marin Cilic of Croatia during their quarterfinal match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters tournament in Monaco, Friday, April 17 2015. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
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Pitcher Shelby Miller #17 of the Atlanta Braves fields a ground ball in the rain in the fourth inning of the game against the Miami Marlins at Turner Field on April 13, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
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Felice Herrig, bottom, is lifted by Paige VanZant before being dropped during a UFC mixed martial arts bout, Saturday, April 18, 2015, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
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Maarty Leunen (L) of Ulm and Jannik Freese (R) of Berlin look fot the ball during the Beko Basketball Bundesliga match between Ratiopharm Ulm and Alba Berlin at ratiopharm Arena on April 19, 2015 in Ulm, Germany. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Bongarts/Getty Images)
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Jake Allen #34 of the St. Louis Blues makes a save against the Minnesota Wild during Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scottrade Center on April 18, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Adam Federici of Reading stretches for the ball as he fails to stop a shot by Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal for their second goal during the FA Cup Semi Final between Arsenal and Reading at Wembley Stadium on April 18, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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