Mattingly protests on-field ruling

Mattingly protests on-field ruling

SAN DIEGO -- The Marlins played Tuesday's game against the Padres under protest after manager Don Mattingly questioned an out call on Christian Yelich in the first inning.

Yelich tapped a roller that was handled by Padres first baseman Wil Myers. Aiming to avoid the tag, Yelich twisted and dove headfirst into the base as Myers made a swipe tag. Although the ruling didn't go the Marlins' way, they did preserve a 5-2 win at Petco Park.

First-base umpire Cory Blaser waved that Yelich was out of the base line, and was out. Mattingly came out to argue the play, which ended up advancing two Miami runners into scoring position.

"It's hard for me to understand, to call him out of the base line when all his marks are in that 45-foot box," Mattingly said. "I don't understand that."

The fact the Marlins won the game made the protest academic.

Replay angles made it tough to determine if Yelich was tagged by Myers. But Mattingly noted whether a tag was applied or not wasn't the issue. Blaser had already signaled Yelich was out of the base line.

Mattingly spent several minutes on the field talking with crew chief, third-base umpire Jeff Nelson.

"They said, just because he is in the box doesn't mean he's in the base line," Mattingly said.

The Marlins protested the application of Official Baseball Rule 5.09 (b)(1). The original call on the field was non-reviewable per the Replay Regulations. Umpires on the field came to headset to report the official protest.

The rule states that any runner is out when: (1) He runs more than three feet away from his base path to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A runner's base path is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely.

The Marlins went on to score five runs in the inning off Drew Pomeranz, four coming on a grand slam by Jeff Mathis.

"I just didn't know how you can call him out of the base line when he dives and he's running where they tell us to run," Mattingly said. "If he was running inside, on the grass, they would have called him for out of the base line. But he was running in that 45-foot box. They tell us to run there. That's where you have to be. His marks are in that. That's what I didn't understand."

From the other side of the field, Padres manager Andy Green watched and waited.

"It's something for Donnie to talk about. I'm not quite sure what he was protesting, it was difficult for me to ascertain that. I'm not sure what the issue really was, at hand," Green said

"My understanding of the rule is that you've got three feet to deviate your path. Less than three feet, it's a judgment call. Judgment calls can't be protested; it's got to be a rules call. I'm not quite sure what it was."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.