ST. PETERSBURG — Major League Baseball moved uncharacteristically quickly in implementing "very limited" instant replay, which will be used in some ballparks as soon as Thursday and at Tropicana Field and others starting Friday.
Essentially, the video replays will be only for "boundary calls" in determining whether balls are home runs, such as whether it went over a fence and if was fair or foul, if there was fan interference and, in the case of Tropicana Field, whether it hit one of the two lowest catwalks.
Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman and manager Joe Maddon favor the idea as it is planned, figuring it can only help in what have become increasingly tougher calls.
"With all the different nuances in these new parks, it is extremely difficult to discern between a home run and a ball that hits the top of the fence or a fan interferes with," Friedman said. "It's an extremely difficult thing to ask umpires from 150 feet away to be able to discern that."
Maddon said he knows how difficult it can be. "I can't tell from the dugout, and I've seen umpires run out and I know that they sincerely believe what they're seeing and they've been wrong, so I don't see anything wrong with the replay for that," he said.
"But I also want to say I just like it for that only. I hope it's not a test run or a test drive to try to incorporate it in other parts of the game."
Rays players had mixed opinions, with concerns about whether the range of plays eligible for review would be broadened, and how the reviews would delay the game and could impact play (such as forcing a pitcher to stand on the mound in cold weather during a review).
The decision to review a play will be made by the umpire crew chief (managers will not be able to request a review as in football), as will the decision to reverse a call, which requires "clear and convincing" evidence.
The review will take place in a secured area — at the Trop, in the grounds crew room behind the visitor's dugout — equipped with a TV monitor (19-inch flat screen) and secure phone line. If there is a review, the crew chief will call an MLB.com technician in New York who will transmit the "most appropriate" video footage for review. Once a play is reviewed, no further arguments will be permitted.
YAZ HEADS HOME: Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski, 69, has been released from a Boston hospital one week after having triple bypass heart surgery. His family released a statement after the surgery saying it was "a complete success."
BOSOX ADD DEPTH: With RF J.D. Drew going on the disabled list with a lower back strain, the Red Sox acquired OF Mark Kotsay from the Braves, Yahoo! Sports reported. Atlanta will receive a minor-league pitcher in return. Also, RHP Josh Beckett, out with numbness and tingling in his hand, felt strong in a 50-pitch side session and is on target to start Friday against the White Sox.
CUBS SALE: Tribune Co. CEO Sam Zell said that the media conglomerate has chosen five bidders for the Cubs. The list reportedly includes Internet billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
BRAVES: LHP Tom Glavine, 42, said he's just a bit sore after having season-ending elbow surgery last week and is unsure whether he'll pitch next season. He said he'll wait to see how his recovery goes before deciding whether he will try to return.
MARLINS: Former Northeast High standout and Rays RHP Doug Waechter was activated from the 15-day disabled list. He was sidelined Aug. 7 by right shoulder inflammation.
METS: With RHP John Maine on the DL, LHP prospect Jon Niese might be called up from Triple-A New Orleans to start Tuesday, Newsday reported.
ROCKIES: Closer Brian Fuentes was put on the bereavement list for a private family matter.
TIGERS: LHP Kenny Rogers, a former Plant City High standout, was placed on waivers and may be traded within the week, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Information from Times wires was used in this report.