Joe Maddon has pulled off some pretty unique plays this season for the NL Central champion Cubs -- specifically, doing things like using pitchers as outfielders (and using them on the mound again later).
What transpired during Wednesday's game with the Pirates, however, was another slice of oddness that came as the result of some quirky defensive positioning. With one out and Eric Fryer on first in the bottom of the fourth inning, Jameson Taillon was at the plate looking to sacrifice. Anthony Rizzo was playing in, anticipating the bunt, so second baseman Ben Zobrist was holding Fryer at first base.
Then, this happened:
You see, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle notified the umpires that Rizzo and Zobrist had effectively swapped positions, so, per the rules, they'd have to use gloves for their respective new defensive roles. Both obtained new gloves, Zobrist using a first baseman's mitt and Rizzo a left-handed, non-first-baseman's glove. If it sounds confusing, that's because it was.
Taillon then put down a successful bunt to Rizzo, Fryer advanced to second with two outs, and anyone keeping score had to deal with this:
It's ruled sac 4-3, and Rizzo handled the ball, so for one play, he was a 2B. #Cubs- Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) September 29, 2016
Then, Zobrist and Rizzo returned to their original, familiar positions and all was well with the universe once again.
After the game, Maddon explained his side of the situation to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat:
Rizzo, meanwhile, seemed to get a kick out of his new positional turn:
"I'm going to change that on my Twitter bio -- 'first baseman and second baseman," he told Muskat.
Hurdle explained his reasoning as follows when speaking with MLB.com's Adam Berry:
Taillon, whose bunt attempt led to all this, told Berry it was a definite first for him: