Baseball to expand the use of instant replay

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Good news for people who hate bad calls:

Major League Baseball is leaning toward expanding replay for the 2012 season to include trapped balls and fair-or-foul rulings down the lines, a person familiar with the talks tells The Associated Press.  Major League Baseball is leaning toward expanding replay for the 2012 season to include trapped balls and fair-or-foul rulings down the lines, a person familiar with the talks tells The Associated Press.

The expanded replay will not cover out/safe calls, but we’ll take what we can get at this point.  And really, if they’re moving beyond straight boundary calls (i.e. they’re reviewing trapped balls) it’s only a matter of time before they go out/safe too. I mean, ball-in-the-glove is ball-in-the-glove, right?

The article has the usual assortment of pro and con player quotes. This one from Chone Figgins is the most significant, I think:

“To have those guys go back and look at replay for everything, it would be just too long unless they had a signal from upstairs and hit a button.”

That’s the key, I believe, for replay to work well as it expands in use. The eye-in-the-sky — I say a fifth umpire in a booth — who can almost instantly review calls without on-field arguing and challenges and without the regular umpires having to leave the field.  We already allow one ump to overrule another if he saw a play better. This would simply be an extension of that. Indeed, practically speaking all it would require is an ear piece worn by the crew chief. If the sky-ump sees the play was called wrong on the field, it can be resolved in a matter of seconds.

Good going baseball.  Now go all the way with it.

Anthony Alford to miss 4-6 weeks following wrist surgery

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Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.

Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.

Stephen Strasburg hit a new career high today

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Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.

It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.

While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.

The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”