The game, an away game last Thursday against the Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium, featured only one Red Sox player who arguably would be a starter for the team: Jackie Bradley Jr. (who batted .189 in a trial with Boston last season). Otherwise, the lineup was made up of players expected to open the season in the minors, earning the Red Sox a complaint from the Marlins:
1. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
2. Alex Hassan, LF
3. Garin Cecchini, 3B
4. Ryan Lavarnway, C
5. Travis Shaw, 1B
6. Brandon Snyder, DH
7. Bryce Brentz, RF
8. Deven Marrero, SS
9. Heiker Meneses, 2B
“I just know that our team needed specific work in addition to having two catchers needing time off, a right fielder that was unavailable,” manager John Farrell said at a press conference. “We’ve got work and injuries we were contending with and they just were the players who were available.”
Team owner John Henry was a little snarkier in his Twitter response to the Marlins complaint:
They should apologize for their regular season lineup.
— John W. Henry (@John_W_Henry) March 8, 2014
Now, do teams skirt this rule? Yes. All the time. There are plenty of games, especially early in the spring, where it’s questionable whether the visiting team is fielding a lineup with four potential regulars. Then again, the Red Sox minor leaguers and the Marlins starters ended up battling to a 0-0 tie with the game called in the eighth.