Manager Lloyd McClendon had some pretty interesting things to say about replay in baseball, but first some news of the day.
Taijuan Walker will start Tuesday for Class AAA Tacoma in another rehab start after having a shoulder injury in spring training. McClendon wouldn’t say if that would be Walker’s last rehab start before joining the Mariners. “We’ll just see how things go,” McClendon said.
The Mariners want to get Walker’s pitch count and innings up because he missed so much of spring training. They don’t want him to have any limitations when he joins the big league club.
And now on to McClendon’s comments on instant replay and the new interpretation of the transfer rule. McClendon said he was “frustrated” and said he’s “not so sure” if replay is good for the game. Here are his full comments:
Have you figured out what’s a catch and what’s not a catch? “No. I’m as frustrated as the next person. You try to be politically correct with your statements, but I’m really worried about where we’re headed with replay and the effect it’s having on the games and the effect it’s having on the fans. Hell, I don’t even know what to celebrate anymore. You don’t know what’s going to be challenged. For me, I think it’s slowing the game down a little. I’ve been trying to be a fan of it. I initially thought it was going to be good for the game, but I’m not so sure. I’m really not.”
“I think the players are struggling with it a little more than the managers, the transfer rule. But I don’t think that was (Josh) Donaldson’s fault. The umpire said out or safe. What we try to tell our players is keep your eye on the umpire. It’s his call. When he makes the call, you react accordingly. That’s why I was so confused about the (Josh) Hamilton call. The umpire called out so our guy went back to second. But in New York they said, ‘He’s going to back to second. He’s not awarded third.’ I said, ‘Well, what are you supposed to do?’ When the umpire says out, you’re supposed to go back. It’s confusing as hell. I’m just not sure.”
Is the transfer rule the biggest problem? “I think that’s probably the most controversial play right now other than that neighborhood play around second base. You see more of those than anything else. Heck, we’ve been involved in three of them already. Two when we were on offense and one when we were on defense.”
We didn’t see them called in spring? “I tell you what, I think what happened is they revisited it because I think they were saying the umpires were not getting it correct. The rule says he has to transfer, not catch, you have to voluntarily transfer it from the glove to the hand. I’m still confused.”
“I don’t think the umpires are confused anymore. They’re interpreting the rule. If it’s not transferred to the hand, it’s not a catch.”
But are they premature in signaling the out? “That’s a good question. I think it’s 50-50. The Hamilton call, I think was probably premature. I thought the call last night was a good call. I didn’t think Ackley caught the ball. I thought he called it correctly.”
“In the past if he secured it with a glove it was a glove. Now it’s not a catch.”
Adjustment for base runner: “You look at their guy last night. I don’t think he even made it 9Yoenis) Cespedes. That’s just an instinctive play on his part.”
“It’s going to be a period of adjustment.”
Do you have to go back to that with your players to make sure they’re more aware? “We do. Both from a defensive side and an offensive side. Pay attention.”
“I always go back to the perfect game that was taken away from us in Detroit. I don’t think it’s that easy. I believe that’s probably why it was put in more than anything else. Because we lost a piece of history.”
“Having said that, we knew going in that it was going to be a period of adjustment. The one thing I don’t like is they said, ‘We won’t make adjustments until the end of the year.’ Maybe we ought to think about making adjustments right away.”