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MLB Changes Transfer Rule Effective Immediately; a Catch is a Catch

April 25th, 2014 at 9:24 PM
By Mike Warsaw

With most of the off-season focus being on the video replay rules that were added by Major League Baseball, most people didn't realize that another rule was also changed. A bit more obscure, the "transfer" rule was rewritten this off-season. Although it doesn't effect play as much, when it had come up this year it has had a major impact on games.

The new interpretation of the rule for this season basically said that a player must catch the ball and then successfully transfer the ball from the glove to the throwing hand. This rule has caused much confusion for many teams and today, Major League Baseball announced that they are changing the rule. Effective immediately, when a player makes a catch, the rule reads that the catch is made and it is an out. Even if a player drops the "transfer" on the throw, basically a catch is a catch.

The old rule came into play as recently as Monday night when the Atlanta Braves defeated the Miami Marlins in 10 innings. Atlanta second baseman, Dan Uggla dropped the ball on the transfer, which would have been a inning ending double play. "I don't like the rule," Uggla said. That's been an out since the beginning of time. I don't agree with it. You can go around the league and probably 100 people out of a 100 people or however many people are in the big leagues — players, coaches, staff — I'm sure will agree with me. Whoever has had a problem with it so far, I'll agree with them."

Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez also voiced his frustration earlier this week. "I think the transfer rule should be distinguished a {caught} ball and a thrown ball," Gonzalez said. Let's let that one stand where you have to catch it and you have to come out with it. Let the actual thrown ball {on} a double play, just let that be where it has been for a million years."  

Here is the new transfer rule:

The committee has determined that a legal catch has occurred pursuant to OBR 2.00 or a valid forceout or tag has occurred pursuant to OBR 2.00, if the fielder had complete control over the ball in his glove, but drops the ball after intentionally opening his glove to make the transfer to his throwing hand. There is no requirement that the fielder successfully remove the ball from his glove in order for it to be ruled a catch. If the fielder drops the ball while attempting to make a throw, the Umpires should rule that the ball had been caught, provided that the fielder had secured it in his glove before attempting the transfer. The Umpires will continue to use their judgment as to whether the fielder had complete control before the transfer.   

Tags: Baseball, MLB, New York, New York Yankees

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