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Adjusting to transfer rule is work in progress

SEATTLE -- The transfer rule was still a hot topic at Safeco Field on Sunday morning, after the A's and the Mariners witnessed its game-changing effects on two separate occasions in Saturday's game.

Twice, Mariners outfielder Dustin Ackley failed to make the transfer from glove to hand after catching a fly ball, allowing the hitter to be safe. Except twice an A's baserunner was called out because of so much confusion on the play.

The rule was initially meant to clarify replay situations on double-play balls, where dropped transfers are often an issue, but it is quickly influencing outfield calls.

"I know they've said it's a work in progress and there will be times they'll look at things and evaluate whether it's right or wrong and make adjustments accordingly," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Whether or not this is one, I'm not sure.

"It's been a tough adjustment. We've had it a lot. It was made for the play at second. I don't think when this rule was put into effect, anyone thought it may come into play in the outfield like you're seeing now. So you really have to change the thinking of your baserunner, and it's tough to do that when it's something that's instinctual."

Josh Donaldson said Saturday night that it may lead to less-aggressive baserunning.

"You have to go halfway, and you're going to have to watch it the entire time, and you might see guys get thrown out at the leading base because they can't get too far away from the other bag for the sheer fact they have to watch it the entire time," Donaldson said. "And some of these outfielders have really good arms, so them throwing it 120 feet is no problem."

Jane Lee is a reporter for Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.
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