Ball-transfer rule clarified; enforcement begins tonight
Play should be declared a catch by virtue of being secure in player's glove
Major League Baseball's Playing Rules Committee provided today a clearer interpretation of the play that occurs when a fielder loses possession of a ball while trying to transfer it from his glove to his throwing hand.
The interpretation was discussed and agreed upon by MLB, the MLB Players Association and the World Umpires Association, and beginning with games starting tonight, it will be the guiding principle that umpires use in ruling on the play.
The committee's determination is that an out has occurred whenever a player has complete control over the ball in his glove, and if he drops the ball after opening his glove, it will still be ruled an out. There is no requirement to successfully remove the ball from the glove for it to be an out.
Also, if a player drops the ball while attempting to remove it from his glove in order to make a throw, the umpire will determine whether he had secured it in his glove before attempting the transfer. If the ball has been caught and controlled, it's an out even if the player drops the ball in the process of transferring it.
The Official Playing Rules Committee consists of the general manager of the New York Mets, Sandy Alderson, who serves as chair of the committee; Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations; Sam Bernabe, chairman of the Pacific Coast League; Hall of Famer Rod Carew, a 19-year Major League veteran; umpire Brian Gorman, a crew chief with more than 22 years of experience at the Major League level; John McHale, Jr., MLB's executive VP of administration and chief information officer; Terry Ryan, executive VP and GM of the Minnesota Twins; John Schuerholz, president of the Atlanta Braves; and Bill Stoneman, former VP and GM of the Los Angeles Angels.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.