Leyland says odd interference play was a first

Leyland says odd interference play was a first

Leyland says odd interference play was a first
DETROIT -- Add together Jim Leyland's playing career as a Minor Leaguer and his managerial coaching tenures, and he has been in professional baseball for nearly half a century. On Saturday, Alexi Casilla being called out for interfering with Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta's attempt at a catch while still standing on second base was a first.

"I've never seen that happen in the history of my years in professional baseball. Ever," Leyland said on Sunday before the opener of a doubleheader against the Twins. "That's why I enjoy this game. You see something that you've never seen before, and I've never seen that in the history of my career."

Nor, for that matter, had Peralta, the shortstop Casilla was ruled to have interfered with when they collided on Denard Span's popup just behind the bag.

"He's on the base," Peralta said. "He didn't see me. That's the first time that I see that play, but it worked out for me."

The interference comes from MLB Rule 7.08(b), but it's a judgment call: "A runner who is adjudged to have hindered a fielder who is attempting to play on a batted ball is out whether it was intentional or not. If, however, the runner has contact with a legally occupied base when he hinders the fielder, he should not be called out, unless such hindrance, in the umpire's judgement ... is intentional."

Casilla told reporters after Saturday's 8-0 Tigers win that he had no intent to hinder. The decision apparently came from the fact that Casilla made no attempt to get out of the way, despite the fact that he was on the bag.

"I just went back to the bag and stayed on the bag. I didn't see him coming toward me because my face was looking straight to center field," he said. "I just felt him hit me and I tried to stay on the bag, but [second-base umpire Brian O'Nora] called me out right away."

Leyland said later Sunday that he talked with the crew, and was told that Saturday's ruling was not the right call in that situation.