When injuries and ineffectiveness disintegrated their starting rotation, the Yankees implemented the mother of all Plan B's by allowing Roger Clemens to resume his summer job as major-league ace.
For other teams that saw their best options at certain positions crash on the shoals, Plan B was not so dramatic. In fact, some teams are still trying to figure out what Plan B is. Here are some examples of the best-laid plans of mice and managers gone awry -- five from the American League and five from the National -- and what's being done about it.
Toronto Blue Jays
Plan A: B.J. Ryan (1.37 ERA in 2006) as closer.
What went wrong: Out since Apr. 15, Ryan will miss the rest of the season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Plan B: Toronto is already on to Plan C. Jason Frasor got first crack at the closer spot and cracked, saving two games but allowing runs in more than half his appearances. (He also relieved emergency starter Shaun Marcum after he threw six no-hit innings on Sunday and allowed a home run to break a scoreless tie.) Jeremy Accardo, who has thrown a surprising 17 2/3 scoreless innings this season, allowing only seven singles and five walks, is stepping in, with fans hoping that the 25-year-old can avoid the beatings that gave him a 5.35 ERA in 2006. Accardo got his second save of the season on Monday.
St. Louis Cardinals
Plan A: Chris Carpenter (3.09 ERA in 2006) as staff ace.
What went wrong: Bone spurs in his pitching elbow knocked out the 2005 Cy Young Award winner after the Cards' season opener -- he's sidelined at least until August.
Plan B: Reliever Brad Thompson, a 25-year-old with a career ERA of 3.29, allowed one run in five innings (78 pitches) against Colorado on May 8 and three runs in 6 2/3 innings (79 pitches) Monday against the Dodgers. Outside of Kip Wells, the current starting rotation of Thompson, Adam Wainwright, Anthony Reyes and Braden Looper had 42 career starts (in 776 appearances). Randy Kiesler or Blake Hawksworth could get recalled from Triple-A if Thompson falters; Mark Mulder, signed in January for $13 million over two years, isn't due back until after the All-Star Break.
Plan A: Mike Piazza (.843 OPS with San Diego Padres in 2006) as designated hitter.
What went wrong: After starting the season with a .718 OPS -- unimpressive for a DH -- Piazza strained his right shoulder sliding head-first into third base and will be out for several weeks.
Plan B: Piazza's injury was one of several that threatened to overwhelm the A's this season. But Oakland acquired perennial cup-of-coffee man Jack Cust from the Padres (who apparently needs to be in a DH league) from a player to be named later. At the rate Cust is going, the Padres may ask for that player to be named Babe. With five home runs in 144 career at-bats going into 2007 and no circuit clouts since 2003, the 28-year-old Cust blasted six in his first seven games, including the game-winner on Sunday against Cleveland. If he could somehow come close to fulfilling his long-advertised potential, he will help keep Oakland in the pennant race.
San Diego Padres
Plan A: Rookie Kevin Kouzmanoff at third base.
What went wrong: In 101 plate appearances this season going into Monday's games, the 25-year-old has 11 hits and six walks for a .387 OPS, worst in baseball among players with that many trips to the plate.
Plan B: By and large the Padres have been sticking with Kouzmanoff, who has started nine of San Diego's past 12 games and went 2 for 3 with a double on Monday. Left-handed slugger Russell Branyan started on Friday and hit two home runs, then went 0 for 3 on Saturday and was back on the bench on Sunday. Pitching matchups may dictate how manager Bud Black mixes and matches the two. After Black reconfirmed his faith in "Kouz" on Saturday, Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union Tribune wrote that "the Padres' answer at third base is 'I Don't Know.'"