Umpire’s call change is a new one for Joe Torre
Dodgers Manager Joe Torre has spent nearly half a century in the major leagues, but had never seen what he saw Wednesday night: an umpire signaling that a ball was caught, only to change his mind.
The play in question occurred with two outs and the bases loaded in the fourth inning when Cincinnati Reds pitcher Aaron Harang was initially ruled by first base umpire Tim McClelland to have lined out to right fielder Andre Ethier.
But Reds Manager Dusty Baker protested the call, resulting in a consultation among the four umpires, who determined that Ethier had trapped the ball. Harang was put on first base and the three runners were each moved up a base, resulting in a run for the Reds that tied the score, 4-4.
Hiroki Kuroda struck out the next batter, Chris Dickerson, to get out of the inning.
McClelland told a pool reporter that umpires have been told by Major League Baseball that in cases like this, they should put the runners where they believe the runners would have ended up had the right call been made initially.
“He said he changed his mind,” Torre said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of those calls changed.”
Torre didn’t put up a fight, as he was told by McClelland that he had no recourse.
Ethier said he thought he caught the ball but that some of his teammates saw the replay and told him that the final call was the right one.
Weaver exits quickly
Reliever Jeff Weaver didn’t last long, as he retired the first batter he faced but had to immediately exit the game because of tightness in his back.
Torre said he didn’t think the problem was related to the fact that the appearance was Weaver’s ninth of the season.
“His workload to date?” Torre said. “He’s had four of the last five days off.”
Weaver also dismissed the idea that he was overused, noting that he felt a similar twinge in July. He said he was fine after a couple of days last year and expected to recover as quickly this time.
Belisario is back
Ronald Belisario pitched a perfect seventh inning, completing his reinstatement from the restricted list earlier in the day.
The hard-throwing sinkerballer recalled how he spent the last several weeks on the practice fields at the Dodgers’ spring-training facility in Arizona, pitching in games that started at 9:30 a.m. and were played in front of no one.
Belisario, who was forced to remain at the facility because he reported to camp five weeks late, said he felt a great deal of remorse watching the Dodgers play on opening day on television.
“You learn from your mistakes,” he said, referring to the drunk-driving charges that prevented him from getting his visa on time and kept him in his native Venezuela.
Torre visits track
Torre spent Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs watching Kentucky Derby entrant Homeboykris work out.
Torre, who has never owned a horse that has run in the Derby, has a 10% stake in the horse.
“I got to see my horse breeze six furlongs,” he said. “It was fun.”