Monday, April 26, 2021

Replay Rewind - HBP Reversed to Out at First Base

After HP Umpire Jordan Baker called for a hit-by-pitch on an inside pitch to Red Sox batter Christian Vasquez, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli challenged the call, resulting in Replay Review's decision to declare Vasquez out at first base despite Baker having called "Time" immediately after the ball ricocheted from the batter's box.

With no score in the 2nd inning during Jackie Robinson Day's Boston-Minnesota game, batter Vasquez checked his swing on a 0-2 fastball from Twins pitcher Michael Pineda, ruled a hit-by-pitch by HP Umpire Baker.

With umpires ruling the batter had not attempted to strike the pitch (no swing), Baldelli challenged the call, with Replay Review determining that the pitched ball had not made contact with Vasquez's hands, but instead with the knob of the bat.

As a result, despite the plate umpire's "Time" call, Replay HQ ruled Vasquez out at first base, having seen that Twins shortstop JT Riddle was in position to field the batted ball and actually did retrieve the ball and throw it to first baseman Miguel Sano, who tagged first base prior to Vasquez's arrival (all off-camera). 

Naturally, Vasquez acted as if the pitch hit him so he didn't actually run to first base while the Twins acted as if the pitch had struck the bat (and was thus a fair ground ball). Replay determined the Twins were in the right, and thus awarded the out.

It should be noted that when first released in 2014, MLB's Replay Review Regulations (specifically IV.A.4) stated, "The Replay Official may not declare a runner out based on a play the umpire believes would have occurred subsequent to the play subject to Replay Review." MLB's website, which fails to supply the full text of the regulations as it did in 2014, makes no reference to this sentence.

For more information on playing out a sequence that might go to and be reversed by replay, see the following articles regarding the false fourth out.


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