LaMonte Wade Jr

Wade doesn't understand why MLB denied Giants' IL exception request

NBC Universal, Inc.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- When the Giants and St. Louis Cardinals take the field Thursday, LaMonte Wade Jr. will take out the lineup card. But that's not how Wade or the Giants hoped that he would be part of a historic game at Rickwood Field. 

The Giants petitioned Major League Baseball to let Wade be their 27th man for the special game, which will honor Willie Mays in the ballpark he played in as a teenager in 1948. But their request was denied, with MLB insisting that rules are rules. Instead, utility man Tyler Fitzgerald was added to the roster for just one day.

"I thought it was going to work out," Wade said before the game. "I don't see why it wouldn't. (Bob Melvin) really pushed for it and I appreciate him for doing that. But the rules are the rules (and) you've got to follow the rules, but for something like this you would think they would make an exception. I feel like we make exceptions in this league for other stuff, as well, so why not this one?"

Wade has been on the IL with a hamstring strain for nearly a month. When he first got hurt, the Giants knew the timetable for recovery would take him past the game at Rickwood Field, but Wade pushed hard with his rehab in hopes of being ready. He said Thursday that he is still likely a couple of weeks away from being healthy, but the Giants were hoping to use the extra roster spot -- which both teams get for special games like this one -- to slide Wade back onto the roster. The problem is that putting Wade back on the IL would reset his clock and keep the Giants from activating him over the next week or so if he turns a corner. 

Wade met Mays twice and said they had extended chats both times, most recently when Mays visited the ballpark for his 92nd birthday last year. He said it's "very special" being at Rickwood Field, even if he won't be able to play. He was part of batting practice with the rest of the Giants on Thursday, taking aim at a center field wall that Mays stood in front of when he was first starting his professional career. 

Wade said he found out before batting practice on Tuesday in Chicago that Mays had passed away.

"It's a sad day. It's a sad day for baseball, it's a sad day for the San Francisco community for sure, but your heart goes out to his family and loved ones and the people close to him," Wade said. "It was definitely sad news to hear, especially after these last two years and getting to know Willie a little bit. It's sad news but he's in a better place looking down on us."

Download and follow the Giants Talk Podcast

Contact Us