Monday, September 6, 2021

Injury Scout - Manny Gonzalez Exits & John Libka Enters

HP Umpire Manny Gonzalez left Monday's #Rays-#RedSox game in Boston after a first-inning foul ball to the mask, leaving the crew with three umpires. Two outs later, call-up John Libka entered the ballgame as the crew's fourth.

With one out in the top of the 1st inning, Rays batter Jordan Luplow fouled a 1-1 93.8-mph fastball from Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale into Gonzalez's hockey-style helmet.

Gonzalez left the game with 1B Umpire Laz Diaz taking over behind home plate for the remaining 8+ innings. 2B Umpire Mike Estabrook moved over to first base and 3B Umpire and Crew Chief Jeff Nelson remained at third. The crew worked the remainder of the top of the 1st inning with three umpires before John Libka—apparently in town ahead of a scheduled Fenway assignment on Tuesday—joined the crew to fill in as the second base umpire for the rest of the game.

We were asked about standby officials. In this case, Libka wasn't on "standby" per se, but the question is worth revisiting.

In 2019, ALCS Crew Chief Jeff Nelson left Game 3 due to injury. During the postseason, MLB assigns six-person umpiring crews, as opposed to the regular season's foursome. In the NHL, four officials are assigned to each regular season game, just like MLB (three for NBA). In the postseason, MLB assigns six officials, and so does the NHL in Stanley Cup Final. The difference is the NHL's fifth and sixth officials (one referee and one linesman) are located off the ice while MLB's fifth and sixth umpires are on the field (in the outfield).

If any NHL official gets hurt during such a game, as Wes McCauley did in 2019, the standby official will move onto the ice to keep the crew at four. In baseball, the LF or RF umpire will simply join the infield to keep the HP-1B-2B-3B umpire structure intact and the crew will work with five umpires. In other words, the major professional sports often do not have a standby official on-hand during the regular season, but do during the postseason.

Relevant Injury History: There is a slight injury history.
> On September 21, 2017, Gonzalez left a game in Tampa Bay after a pitch bounced into his throat.

Last Game: September 6 | Return to Play: Sept 14 | Time Absent: 7 Days | Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Manny leaves in the 1st inning, Libka fills in, and we answer the standby ? (BOS)


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