CHICAGO – Baseball’s new replay-challenge system worked so well for the Twins on Wednesday, Major League Baseball had to apologize afterward.
Well, it wasn’t an apology, technically, but it’ll have to do. Because while the Twins were happy that the replay corrected an umpire’s error to their benefit, they were disappointed the play took more than five minutes to resolve.
“It cost me my pitcher,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “It took too long, for everybody involved.”
The play occurred in the middle of the Twins’ three-run, seventh-inning rally, which included two pitching changes by Chicago that also lengthened the Twins’ time at bat. With Trevor Plouffe on first, three Minnesota runs in and no outs, Oswaldo Arcia hit a fly ball to short center field. White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton settled under it, but when he tried to take the ball out of his glove, it dropped to the turf. Third base umpire Dale Scott signaled that Arcia was out, ruling Eaton held the ball long enough for a catch. Plouffe retreated back to first base.
Gardenhire quickly challenged the call, and umpires Scott and Dan Iassogna put on headsets to communicate with the MLB command center in New York. But they didn’t announce the decision — Eaton didn’t catch the ball, Arcia was safe and Plouffe was awarded second — until five minutes later. After the game, MLB issued a statement explaining that the challenge occurred at the same moment as another one in Oakland, “and it made the review process take longer than normal. … We do not expect the length of the review in [Wednesday’s] Twins-White Sox game to be typical.”
The game was further delayed when White Sox manager Robin Ventura asked for an explanation about why Plouffe had been moved to second. (He had a point — had the play been called correctly right away, Plouffe might have been forced out at second base.)
The inning took so long, in 32-degree weather, that Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson decided against sending starting pitcher Kevin Correia back to the mound, even though he had thrown only 82 pitches. Casey Fien was summoned for the seventh.
“Without that review, I’m definitely going back out,” Correia said after his six-inning, five-hit, five-strikeout start. “Maybe I could have put up a bigger fight if it was later in the year, but with how long it was taking, it was probably the right call. … Hopefully, they’ll speed it up a tad.”
• Fien took a line drive off his left shin but expects to be available Thursday.
• Michael Tonkin needed 23 pitches to retire the White Sox in the 10th inning, and afterward he was informed he’s headed back to Class AAA Rochester. Brian Duensing, whose wife gave birth to a baby boy on Monday, was expected to rejoin the team Wednesday.