Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

MLB's first replay rulings go in Twins' favor

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: March 3, 2014 - 2:58 PM

      UPDATE: The first replay in major-league (exhibition) history took place in the bottom of the sixth inning Monday, when umpire Fieldin Culbreth ruled that Toronto first baseman Jared Goedert's foot was not on the bag as Chris Rahl crossed first base. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons challenged the call, and the matter was turned over to umpire Brian O'Nora, who was stationed in a nearby TV truck.

    Culbreth donned a headset next to the Jays' dugout, and O'Nora, after watching video of the play, told him the call should stand. The process took 2 minutes, 34 seconds (from the end of the play to the ruling). Rahl, the Twins' reserve outfielder, remained on first base and shortstop Munenori Kawasaki was charged with an error.

    Two innings later, the umpires chose to review another close play at first, when Will Little ruled that Doug Bernier had beaten out a slow roller. Gibbons, who no longer had a challenge to exercise, came out to argue, or at least urge the umpires to call for a review themselves, as they can do from the seventh inning on. They obliged, and Culbreth, now stationed in the replay truck, upheld Little's call.

    

    The Twins will become part of baseball history today in Hammond Stadium, where their game with the Blue Jays will be the first ever played under baseball's new replay challenge rule. Terry Steinbach is managing the split-squad game (Ron Gardenhire is in Sarasota), and he's been encouraged to use his challenge in order to test the new system.

    The logistics are a little different than they will be during the season -- most notably, the challenge umpire will be watching the game from an MLB satellite truck behind the stadium, rather than in a central control room in New York -- but the idea is the same. Managers can challenge one call during the first seven innings, and if the umpire's call is overturned, that manager will be able to challenge one more call. From the seventh inning on, the umpires will decide whether to ask the replay umpire for a ruling.

    Each team is allowed to have one representative watching the game and communicating with the dugout about whether to challenge a call. For the Twins, video coordinator Sean Harlin will handle the duties, normally from an office in whatever ballpark they're in. For today, Harlin will be working from a special monitor near the satellite trucks; he'll have a walkie-talkie to communicate with coach Paul Molitor in the dugout.

    There are only four TV cameras broadcasting from Hammond Stadium, rather than the 10 that MLB will have to choose from in Target Field and other major-league stadiums. But it will be interesting to see how the system works (and how frequently the rule is invoked), starting today. This is the only game using the system in Florida today, though most parks will be using it within the few days.

    On the field, Kevin Correia gets the start for the Twins, and he'll be followed in some order by Kyle Gibson, Brian Duensing, Casey Fien, Caleb Thielbar and Yohan Pino. The rest of the Twins' lineup:

Hicks CF

Dozier 2B

Mauer 1B

Willingham DH

Arcia RF

Suzuki C

Romero 3B

Mitchell LF

Escobar SS

 

And here is Toronto's lineup:

 

Gose CF

Getz 2B

Lawrie 3B

Encarnacion DH

Navarro C

Sierra RF

Johnson 1B

Izturis SS

Pillar LF

 

Happ P

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