Joe Mauer saw Troy Tulowitzki leap into the air to catch an off-target throw Thursday, so he tried to slide into the side of second base to avoid colliding with the Blue Jays shortstop. The move was instinctive, but it cost the Twins an out.
That’s because Mauer popped to his feet as he hit the bag, but bounced slightly as he did so. And in that split-second as he caught his balance, he lost contact with the base, while Tulowitzki kept the tag on him. Umpire Toby Basner called him safe, but Mauer wasn’t surprised when the call was overturned by replay.
“I knew it was close. It’s kind of a tricky play because I was trying to avoid a collision, and it worked against me,” Mauer said. “I beat the throw, so it was unfortunate to be called out there.”
It was the third out of the inning, so it killed a threat in a game the Twins lost 3-2 in 11 innings. And it illustrated a side effect of replay that once frustrated players and managers, but has largely become accepted: Video catches the tiniest of margins.
“Joe Torre said it wasn’t the intent of replay to catch people who pop up after sliding, but with the technology we have, that’s been a consequence,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “And to most people, if you’re off the base, you’re off the base, regardless if you beat a play. So that’s something we have to adjust to.”
The Twins generally don’t practice sliding, but they had a session this spring on keeping contact with the bag.
“It’s become problematic, in that the things guys have done their whole life now are being caught, even in the smallest of margins,” Molitor said. “I’ve tried to [tell] guys, just go ahead and stay down there so you have a better chance of maintaining contact.”
Mauer said he felt safe, but accepts why he wasn’t.
“A rule’s a rule,” he said, “and we’ve got to follow it.”
Move in just a little
Molitor said he and his coaches addressed Oswaldo Arcia’s positioning in left field during the 11th inning Thursday, when Arcia stood on the warning track during Edwin Encarnacion’s at-bat, and on the edge of the grass during Justin Smoak’s.
“You’re trying to get those guys very deep, given the lack of speed and [in order to] keep the ball in front, cutting off balls in the gap,” Molitor said. “But that was too far.”
Molitor said Thursday that he didn’t realize that Arcia was that deep, but he watched video of the inning Friday.
• The Twins held a moment of silence before Friday’s game for Wheelock Whitney, who played a role in convincing Calvin Griffith to move the Washington Senators to Minnesota in 1961, and then became the team’s first season-ticket holder.
“He was a very big fan of the Minnesota Twins and professional sports in general in this market,” Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said. “He was great to this organization through the years.”
A Twins jersey was draped over Whitney’s front-row seat behind the home dugout.
• Alex Meyer threw a bullpen session for Class AAA Rochester on Friday and reported no problems with his shoulder, Ryan said. The righthander will throw again Sunday and the Twins will made a decision on how to proceed. Meyer hasn’t pitched since his start for the Twins on May 3, after suffering shoulder fatigue.
• Eduardo Escobar flew out twice in his first two at-bats for Class A Fort Myers, the beginning of a rehab stint for the Twins shortstop, who is recovering from a groin injury.
• Byron Buxton will return to action for Rochester on Saturday, Ryan said. The center fielder, hitting .301 in 20 games for the Red Wings, has missed nearly a week because of back spasms.