Replay upholds Trout's close play at plate

Replay upholds Trout's close play at plate

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia lost his second straight replay review of the spring, but he didn't lose a challenge.

A new wrinkle in the expanded-replay rules managers and umpires are still familiarizing themselves with emerged on Thursday, when crew chief Gerry Davis issued an "umpire challenge" for a play in which Mike Trout was thrown out at the plate attempting to score on an inside-the-park home run.

Scioscia came out to argue and convinced the crew to review the play. The umpires then walked to foul territory, communicated with the fifth umpire in the T.V. truck beyond center field and, after 72 seconds, determined that the initial call was correct.

The umpiring crew was looking to see if A.J. Ellis was in violation of Rule 7.13, a new one that bans catchers from blocking home plate without the ball and runners from taking out catchers.

"The first thing we look at when there's an umpire challenge is whether he's blocking the plate or not, or if the runner deviates from his path trying to score," Davis said. "But once we go for that reason, we can review the whole play."

In other words, if umpires would've determined that Ellis was not in violation of Rule 7.13, but that Trout did in fact slide in safely, they could've overturned the call -- even without the need for a "manager's challenge."

"I think, procedurally, we're hopefully starting to understand this replay a little bit more," Scioscia said. "And as it was, I didn't lose a challenge because of a crew chief's ability to look at a play at the plate."

With one out in the bottom of the first, Trout hit a bullet to straightaway center field against former Angels starter Dan Haren. Yasiel Puig came up short on the dive as the ball trickled to the fence, and third-base coach Gary DiSarcina waved Trout home.

"When Trout touched third," Haren said, "Sosh had already come off his chair to challenge."

Hanley Ramirez's relay throw beat Trout to home plate, and the Angels' 22-year-old outfielder was apparently a millisecond late in sliding around Ellis' tag, getting the out call from third-base umpire Pat Hoberg.

"I was playing the baseball," Ellis said. "I have to play the baseball. What am I supposed to do, let it go? You can't camp out on the plate without the ball. I gave the runner a lane to score."

Rule 7.13 and boundary calls on home runs are only reviewable under an umpire's discretion, and can't be challenged by the manager.

Under the expanded-replay rules, which officially go into effect at the start of the 2014 season, every manager starts the game with one challenge. If it's upheld, he gets one more. If not, he loses it. Umpires can't review a play under their own discretion -- except boundary calls on home runs and home-plate collisions -- until the start of the seventh inning.

But Scioscia, part of Bud Selig's Special Committee for On-Field Matters, believes there is some leeway there.

"I think umpires, if they're not sure about a call, will lean on replay," Scioscia said. "They have that right too. How much they do remains to be seen."

Thursday was the second of at least 15 "replay games" the Angels have this season. At Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on Monday, Scioscia used a challenge to argue that Luis Jimenez was safe at second base on a botched hit-and-run, but the initial call was upheld.

On Thursday, baseball's two newest rules came together on one play.

It's a good thing they have Spring Training.

"It's interesting," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "Everybody's got a different take. Mike went one way, the umpires came back a little bit different. On the ninth [of March], the umpires will come to our place and we'll talk about it more. It's going to be a bit crazy."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.