Rocco Baldelli knows that Willians Astudillo has become a fan favorite, that the curiosity over "La Tortuga" has become an almost constant story line. But that doesn't mean he's interested in adding to the legend.
Baldelli replaced Eddie Rosario with Astudillo for the final three innings of Saturday's 16-7 victory over the Orioles, mostly to give Rosario some rest at the end of a long day. But rather than simply take over his position in left field, Baldelli switched Jake Cave from right to left field and sent Astudillo to right.
"To get him out there in a spot where he hasn't spent a lot of time was important. We were sitting there talking about it and [bench coach Derek Shelton] said, 'What about right field?' And I said, 'You know, I kind of like that,'" Baldelli said. "Getting someone to a new spot so they can see the ball, so the next time when we're in a game that might be a different type of game, it's not the first time he's ever doing it or seeing it."
Right field happened to be one of two positions Astudillo had never played in a major league game — shortstop is the other — so Baldelli was asked before Sunday's game if that oddity played any role in his decision.
Baldelli rolled his eyes. "It had nothing to do with that," he said sarcastically. "It had nothing to with Astudillo 'fun facts' and all of that, though we know that's very important."
So does that mean he's not going to let the super-utility man, who started behind the plate Sunday and made a highlight-reel catch of a foul ball, complete the circuit by manning shortstop at some point?
Again, Baldelli sighed at the question, tongue in cheek. "I can't believe we're talking about Astudillo playing shortstop," he said, shaking his head. "I can say — and you can go right up to him and tell him — that I have no plans of playing him at shortstop. At all. None."