Royals getting prepped for first replay contest
Yost's first of five games with challenges set for Wednesday vs. D-backs
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals enter Major League Baseball's new instant replay era for the first time on Wednesday during their game against the host Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
Royals manager Ned Yost said that officials have encouraged teams to make challenges in the Cactus League games to help test the broader innovation designed to correct erroneous decisions by umpires.
"Absolutely they have," Yost said. "They want you to go ahead and take advantage of the five games that you have, and use it and get a feel for it, and go from there."
The other four games in which the Royals will have access to instant replay will come next Saturday (at Brewers), next Tuesday (Dodgers), March 17 (Rangers) and March 25 (Mariners).
Yost said he won't be challenging just to be challenging.
"I'm not going to just do a play, but if it's something that we'd challenge during the year, we'll give it a shot," he said.
The Royals are training former catchers Bill Duplissea and Cody Clark to be their eyes on the instant replay monitors. Duplissea has been the club's bullpen catcher since 2006 and has been advance scouting coordinator for the last two years. Clark played in the Royals' Minor League system from 2007-12 and reached the Majors for the first time last year in 16 games with Houston.
"We're going to have two guys in the [TV] truck watching replay with the walkie-talkie and communicating advice back to the dugout, so we're going to try to do it as realistically as we can in all five of these games that we're going to do," Yost said.
"It's going to be a decision not based on emotion so you've got have the right guys that can do that."
Once the season begins, the Royals expect to have just one of them on instant replay duty.
"Both of them are capable of doing pregame activity, catching in the 'pen, throwing batting practice," Yost said. "We want to make sure we've got two guys trained for this [replay] job because if somebody gets sick, something happens, we've got a qualified backup. Which one's going to sit in the truck or which one's going to sit in the video booth, we haven't decided yet so we're training them both."