ARLINGTON, Texas — If you weren't paying attention to the contest between the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox on Thursday night, you might have missed it.
Boston's Christian Arroyo was awarded first base after Rangers catcher Jose Trevino was called for catcher's interference in the eighth inning of a 4-1 ballgame. On the replay, it looked like the ball went into Trevino's glove before Arroyo's bat made contact with it, but it was very close either way.
"I was just too close," Trevino said. "I'll fix it."
The play didn't end up hurting the Rangers, as Arroyo did not advance past first base and the Rangers won by the same score of 4-1.
However, let's say the ball did go into Trevino's mitt first then Arroyo made contact with it. As rare as that is already, it would not be the first time it would have happened during the Major League Baseball season.
In an April 17 contest between the San Diego Padres and Woodward's former Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego's Jurickson Profar made contact with the mitt of Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes on a called third strike. However, the ball was clearly in Barnes' mitt well before Profar made contact with it on a check swing.
After Padres manager Jayce Tingler contested the call, the umpires reviewed the play and awarded first base to Profar. Jomboy Media covered the incident in fine fashion in case you didn't see it.
After the conclusion of the Rangers game, I asked Chris Woodward about not only the catcher's inference in his game, but about the rule in general, and if batters should be awarded first base if the ball is already in the catcher's mitt.
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Woodward's full response:
"No. Absolutely not. I saw the one with the Dodgers and the Padres. I'd love to see the video on this one. I haven't seen it. But we've gotta come up with something. The ball can't be in the catcher's glove, and then hit the glove. I don't know if we can review it or if we can figure out a way. Otherwise, any big spot, bases loaded, I would do it every time. I'd just wait until the catcher catches it, hit his glove, and run to first. I don't think anybody would do that intentionally. I'm not saying [Christian] Arroyo did it intentionally. I think he was just late on it. It was what we call an 'emergency swing'. He was really late on it. Clearly, that wasn't his intent. But the problem is if you allow that, sometimes, to happen, it could create a situation where somebody could take advantage of the rule. I'd hate for somebody to lose a game or have a guy get on base in the ninth inning because they purposely did that. I don't think anybody would go out on a limb to do that, because everybody would criticize them for it. It was frustrating to watch the Padre-Dodger one, and this one I haven't seen up close on video, but something's gotta be changed with that."
Nothing I found in MLB's rulebook or definition of the rule specifies any difference in the call if the ball is already caught by the catcher. Otherwise, the umpires and replay officials should not have awarded first base to Profar in the Padres-Dodgers contest.
Woodward clearly brings up some interesting points regarding the rule. Should the rule be changed? Should it be reviewed?
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