A nine-run lead in the eighth inning seemed like a prime opportunity for the Yankees to call upon Tyler Lyons, offering the veteran left-hander a chance to make his first Major League appearance of 2020. There was only one problem: He was not eligible to pitch.
As Lyons trotted in from the bullpen on Tuesday at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, N.Y., intending to work in New York's eventual 12-1 victory over the Blue Jays, home-plate umpire Carlos Torres searched his lineup card for the left-hander's name. Because it did not appear, Lyons was waved off the field.
"I don't know if it was an issue of the transaction not going through by the time our card went through, but it's on my card -- he's on there," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "We'll try and make sure we're airtight on that moving forward."
Lyons, who signed a Minor League contract with the Yankees in February and had been working out at the club's alternate training site, was signed to a Major League contract prior to Tuesday's game. The move was announced in an e-mail that landed at 4:52 p.m. ET -- one hour and 47 minutes prior to first pitch.
Lineup cards are not being exchanged hand-to-hand this season, with clubs instead responsible for filing all roster moves into an online database.
"We'll do some more digging and see what's at the bottom of it," Boone said. "The transaction went through a little bit late, so we're going to have to continue to work to get to the bottom of it and make sure that doesn't happen."
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said that the umpiring crew described it was "the same" situation that Toronto encountered on Aug. 6, when right-hander Jacob Waguespack was deemed ineligible to pitch in a game against the Braves because his name was not listed on the lineup card.
Lyons returned to the dugout, prompting left-hander Zack Britton to hurriedly warm up in the bullpen. Britton retired all three batters he faced in the eighth inning, and Adam Ottavino followed suit in the ninth, closing out the Yanks' ninth victory in 11 games.
MLB's Official Baseball Rules, 4.03(c), addresses "Exchange of Lineup Cards" and substitutes as such:
"As a courtesy, each lineup card presented to the umpire-in-chief should list the fielding positions to be played by each player in the batting order. If a designated hitter is to be used, the lineup card shall designate which hitter is to be the designated hitter. See Rule 5.11(a). As a courtesy, potential substitute players should also be listed, but the failure to list a potential substitute player shall not make such potential substitute player ineligible to enter the game."