The new instant-replay and home-plate collision rules were the primary topics of the Los Angeles Angels’ annual spring-training Players’ Association meeting Sunday morning.
There has been some confusion about the rules and how they’ve been implemented in exhibition games, and new union chief Tony Clark acknowledged a growing concern among players about whether the rules will enhance or detract from the game.
Then, a few hours later, a fifth-inning play in the Angels’ 3-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds did nothing to ease the debate.
Hank Conger hit a run-scoring single to right field and took second on the throw to the plate. Reds Manager Bryan Price challenged the call at second. After a 2-minute, 15-second delay in which umpires viewed replays from four different camera angles, the call was upheld. But a fifth angle from the Angels television broadcast, which was not available to the replay official, indicated Conger was out. Instead of the call being overturned, Conger remained at second and scored on Kole Calhoun’s RBI single for a 2-0 lead.
“It was an umpire’s nightmare,” said Randy Marsh, an umpiring supervisor who was at the game and explained what happened to both managers.
“I don’t know how the system works,” Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said. “I think the guidelines are getting less confusing as we’re absorbing it and trying it every day. The logistics of seeing the replay and getting it to the umpire will be better during the season because of the ability to see the play from many angles.”
The union will be monitoring the system closely.
“You would not be surprised to hear that we have a lot of players who are purists, and when you start making changes, they’re going to be concerned,” Clark said. “You’re talking about two significant adjustments to what happens on the field.”
Clark also believes the replay process will be more streamlined and effective during the regular season, when more camera angles and better technology will be available. But if the backlash against the rules grows, the union could push to eliminate them.
CARDS SIGN SS DIAZ — The St. Louis Cardinals signed Cuban free agent shortstop Aledmys Diaz to a major league contract and he’ll report to spring training on Monday.
The Cardinals were among a number of teams, including the Yankees, who held private workouts for the right-handed hitting Diaz and the deal is believed to be for $15-20 million for four years.
The team planned a news conference for today.
“We have been following Aledmys for quite some time,” general manager John Mozeliak said in a statement. “His signing marks a significant benchmark for the Cardinals in the international arena and we are excited to have reached this agreement.”
The deal came a day after St. Louis signed third baseman and leadoff man Matt Carpenter to a six-year, $52 million contract. During the offseason, the Cardinals committed $53 million over four years to sign free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta, so they could face a position logjam in the near future.
BRAVES’ MEDLEN HURT — Braves starter Kris Medlen left in the fourth inning of Sunday’s game against the New York Mets with a strained right forearm.
Medlen threw a pitch to Matt Clark, and then grabbed his right elbow and turned his back to home plate.
The right-hander who was slated to start opening day for Atlanta removed himself from the game. He was examined by the Mets’ team doctor and will be re-evaluated today.
Medlen was 15-12 last year with a 3.11 ERA in 197 innings. The 28-year-old had Tommy John surgery in 2010.
DODGERS ANNOUNCE TWO STARTERS — Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu will be the Dodgers’ starting pitchers in their two-game season-opening series in Australia against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The games will be played March 22-23 at Sydney Cricket Ground.
Kershaw will be making his fourth straight season-opening start for Los Angeles.
Manager Don Mattingly made the announcement Sunday after weeks of speculation about who would start in Australia.
Ryu got the start in Game 2 because of an injury to Zack Greinke, who strained his right calf while throwing four pitches in his only spring appearance on Feb. 27 against Arizona.
Before getting hurt, Greinke said there was “zero interest” in making the trip.