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Royals ponder changes to replay system

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Instant replay is being expanded this year to include a variety of plays, and manager Ned Yost, general manager Dayton Moore and the Royals' staff are pondering how it might work out.

"It's still kind of a great unknown. It started that they were going to put a [monitor] in close proximity of the dugout, so it was my thought you can have a bench coach go and check the replay and come back out while you're out on the field," Yost said. "Now the thought seems to be that they're going to install all the replay machines in the video room. So we've had extensive conversations -- Dayton and I and our baseball [operations] people -- on how we're going to do that and who's going to do that."

So when Yost goes out to argue an umpire's call, a staff member presumably would check out the replay in the video room or somewhere and signal the manager on whether or not he should use his one challenge. (If the skipper is right, he retains the right to challenge a call again. Beginning with the seventh inning, the umpires can decide on reviewing plays.)

This certainly changes the dynamics of baseball arguments.

"I'm a competitive guy, but when I go out to argue a call, I can't win. There's no way. I've never won one, will never win one," Yost said, alluding to the old system. "You can't win. At least now I've got a fighting chance. So I welcome it."

Do you use your challenge on a bang-bang play or only on one that you're sure to win?

"Every time I run out on a bang-bang play, when I'm sure that [the umpire] missed it, I always get back and look at the replay and he didn't," Yost said. "It's a real tough angle from the dugout to see that bang-bang play."

Therefore, Yost's conclusion is this: "It's going to be more [on] the obvious plays."

Those obvious plays, however, won't include the "neighborhood" forceouts at second base where sometimes the shortstop or second baseman is just in the "neighborhood" of second base on a force play with a runner bearing down on him. The thinking there is it's better to avoid injuries than be too picky about stepping on the bag.

"They're not going to be able to review that 'neighborhood' play as we go right now. They say right now that's not going to be reviewable," Yost said.

Whether or not there'll much experimentation with the new rules during Spring Training remains to be seen because telecasts are relatively infrequent. So the real shakedown will come once the regular season begins.

"It's new ground and we're going to have to experience it and see how it works out, but I think in the long run it's going to be good for us," Yost said.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for
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