Major league umpires have changed the way the “transfer rule” is interpreted this season. We’ve seen it a few times already so far, but the upshot is that even if you catch a ball and have it in your glove for a long time, if you drop it when trying to transfer it to your throwing hand, you aren’t credited with the catch.
No, I am not exaggerating. Because this play happened in today’s Indians-Padres game, and even after Indians manager Terry Francona challenged it, it was upheld as a no-catch:
That seems rather silly to me. Elliot Johnson clearly had the ball for several steps after his catch. He could have run the ball in from right field personally while not taking it out of his glove and it never would have hit the ground. Only after trying to transfer it did it come loose. Why this is not a catch is utterly baffling to me.
This is not the first time this new interpretation has come into play — Josh Hamilton was a victim of it recently was well — but it’s certainly a perplexing one.
The Orioles have claimed infielder David Adams on outright waivers from the Indians, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. As a result, the Indians have purchased infielder Elliot Johnson’s contract and placed him on the 40-man roster. To make room for Adams, the Orioles designated Kelvin de la Cruz for assignment, MASN’s Roch Kubakto reports.
Adams, 26, signed as a free agent with the Indians in December after posting a .537 OPS in 152 plate appearances with the Yankees.
Johnson, 30, hasn’t had better results in four years in the Majors, as he has a career .592 OPS in 806 PA. However, he impressed in the Cactus League, slashing .350/.381/.650 in 40 at-bats.
Elliot Johnson, who split last season between the Braves and Royals, has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Indians.
Johnson has logged 181, 331, and 275 plate appearances during the past three seasons and brings a lot of defensive versatility and speed to the table in a utility man role, but he’s a career .218 hitter with 12 homers and a .592 OPS in 311 games.
He’s one of the 10 worst active hitters in baseball, but the 30-year-old switch-hitter will compete for a bench gig in spring training.