Green tossed after interference call on Machado

April 3rd, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- No stranger to a bit of controversy, found himself at the center of a bizarre interference call in the sixth inning of the Padres' 8-5 loss to the D-backs on Tuesday night.

His foul popup was dropped by D-backs catcher John Ryan Murphy, but Machado was ruled out, anyway, prompting the 10th career ejection for Padres skipper Andy Green.

The star third baseman lifted a 2-2 fastball from Zack Greinke slightly up the first-base line in foul ground. As Machado began to run to first base, he and Murphy briefly came together, though it’s unclear whether they made any contact on the edge of the batters box.

If so, it didn't seem to faze Murphy, who flipped off his mask and camped under the ball. But the ball popped out of his mitt, and Machado headed back to the batters' box. That's when home-plate umpire Bill Welke ruled Machado out for interference.

"A batter has certain protections when he’s in the batters’ box when he’s the batter,” Welke explained in a pool report. “The minute the batter makes contact with the ball, he’s no longer the batter, he’s the batter-runner. The batter-runner has to give way to a fielder making a play on a batted ball. … It doesn’t matter if it’s intentional or not. A runner always has to give way to a fielder making a play on a batted ball.”

Machado was unaware he had been ruled out until he noticed Green had left his perch atop the dugout to argue with Welke.

“I hit the fly ball, looked up, saw it, put my head down and went to go run,” Machado said. “I don’t even think I touched him. [Murphy] even said, ‘No.’”

Welke clarified that contact isn’t a stipulation of the interference rule, which states:

“Offensive interference is an act by the team at-bat which interferes with, obstructs, impedes, hinders or confuses any fielder attempting to make a play.”

As Machado began to run up the line, he dropped his bat in the vicinity of Murphy's feet. That didn't appear to have any effect on Murphy, and it's unclear whether the D-backs catcher even noticed. Welke noted that his ruling wasn’t related to that aspect of the play.

Green was tossed fairly quickly upon his emergence from the dugout. Machado began chirping, too, but he was quickly escorted back to the dugout by bench coach Rod Barajas.

“It was tough [to] differentiate whether he was saying he got in his way or made contact,” Green said. “He called him out. That’s the call he made. … If you put it in super slow-mo you might be able to see a heel click. If he saw that, that’s really, really, really impressive.”

Rule 6.01(a)(10) states that a batter-runner will be ruled out if, “He fails to avoid a fielder who is attempting to field a batted ball.” But when the coming-together is between the batter and the catcher, there’s some leeway. An addendum to that rule notes: “When a catcher and batter-runner going to first base have contact when the catcher is fielding the ball, there is generally no violation.”

Padres left fielder Hunter Renfroe followed with a laser home run off the first deck of the Western Metal Building, turning the chorus of boos at Petco Park into cheers. But the Padres still trailed, 6-3, at the time. Machado finished the day 1-for-5.