Ausmus waits for more clarity on transfer rule
DETROIT -- On the whole, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said, baseball's replay system has worked out well. That said, he has some issues he'd like to see worked out. The transfer rule regarding fielders switching the ball from their glove to their throwing hand would be foremost among them.
Three weeks in, the new interpretation is already having an effect on how Ausmus and his team look at replays to decide what to challenge.
"The one thing we've learned is the whole transfer thing is probably not going to play out the way most people had expected," Ausmus said Saturday morning. "So we'll be a little more judicious in deciding whether to challenge a ball that's dropped."
Major League managers reportedly received a memo from the Commissioner's Office on Friday that tried to clarify, among other things, the transfer.
"Umpires and/or replay officials must consider whether the fielder had secured possession of the ball but dropped it during the act of the catch," the statement reportedly read. "An example of a catch that would not count is if a fielder loses possession of the ball during the transfer before the ball was secured by his throwing hand."
Ausmus has been looking for more clarity on it. He met with Joe Torre, now MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, earlier this month.
"I guess what they're saying is that the ball has to be secured in the hand," Ausmus said. "But to me, it's gone way too far. There has to be a period of time when the ball's in your glove that it's considered control. … If he's got the ball in the hand and is turning the glove, he's got control of it, or it would've fallen out right there. There just has got to be a period of time when it's in the glove that it's no longer considered a dropped ball."
The Tigers were among the first teams to find out about this rule on Opening Week. Shortstop Andrew Romine took a throw at second base before fumbling the ball trying to ready a throw to first. Romine was not given the out at second base, a ruling that held up on replay.
Ausmus said he had a sense that the transfer rule would be a point of emphasis going in, but not necessarily interpreted the way it has been.
"They did definitely talk about it," Ausmus said, "but I don't know if the explanation we got ahead of time has held any water."