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Torre outlines potential replay, roster rule changes

Torre outlines potential replay, roster rule changes

Torre outlines potential replay, roster rule changes
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Everything is on the table as Major League Baseball studies expanded use of instant replay, executive vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre told reporters on Wednesday after the first day of the annual General Managers Meetings at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort.

Torre said that use of replay could go beyond the changes that were collectively bargained with the MLB Players Association last fall: whether balls hit down the lines are fair or foul, and whether players caught or trapped balls.

"I certainly don't want the conversation after a ballgame or a regular-season game to be about a missed call that we could have gotten right because the cameras told us that," said Torre. "That's certainly a concern, because we want the game to be first and foremost in stories and conversations.

"We've had a couple of calls during the postseason that haven't involved fair or foul. So I'm looking at everything. That's what I'm saying."

Torre said MLB also is reviewing the rule that allows active rosters to expand from 25 to as many as 40 players between Sept. 1 until the end of the season.

Both the replay and roster issues were discussed at a Wednesday morning session that involved the 30 general managers, as the three days of meetings opened. They've also been discussed at the league level by Commissioner Bud Selig's select 14-person committee that studies potential on-field changes to the game. Torre is a member of that committee.

As of now, it's up to each club to determine how many players to add once rosters expand.

"I think we pretty much all want the same thing: that teams should have an equal number of players available every day," Torre said. "We want to make sure we take into consideration everything that would be affected. I feel we're going to get there at some point. I think it's important personally, and I'm speaking for my office, too.

"You play the whole season with one set of rules. And the most important time of year -- especially for clubs that are in a playoff race -- I just don't think that it's fair for it to be done with a different number of roster people."

Any rule change in either area would have to be approved by the owners and then collectively bargained with the MLB Players Association.

As far as replay is concerned, Torre did not say whether anything new would be adopted in time for the 2013 season.

"If we don't, it's not for a lack of effort, let's put it that way," Torre said. "I don't want to nail myself down in that regard. The last thing I want to do is recommend [any of] this as a knee-jerk reaction."

Torre added that even a National Football League-type challenge by managers has been discussed. In the NFL, a coach can challenge a call outside of the last two minutes of each half, but their team loses one of three timeouts if the ruling is sustained.

"We talked about that, but I'm not sure I want to put another lump of coal in the manager's stocking," Torre said. "That's another decision, other than changing pitchers or putting on a hit-and-run, that he can be second-guessed. That's our job and all that stuff, but it has been talked about and it was talked about today."

MLB currently uses existing television camera angles to review whether home runs are fair or foul or landed inside or outside the playing field. Last year, when MLB and the players union negotiated a new six-year Basic Agreement, both sides agreed to extend the use of replay to balls hit down the line and trapped by fielders with the addition of new technology.

That expansion has been placed on hold after negotiations with the umpires union. Near the end of the season, MLB experimented with two new technologies. One involves a series of lasers and the other animation. Neither seem ready for prime time, Torre said.

"We still have a question if that's going to work for baseball," Torre said. "I'm not saying it can't be adjusted or they can't make it work for our game. It works for tennis. But let's face it, a tennis court is only so big, and it's easier to cover than [the area] we have. But the technology is certainly interesting enough to look at it and see if it works for us."

Torre said he decided to discuss further expansion of replay after calls in this year's postseason were considered questionable.

Torre pointed, in particular, to a call at second base at Yankee Stadium during the eighth inning of New York's 3-0 loss in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series in which Tigers second baseman Omar Infante ran wide of the bag after a throw by right fielder Nick Swisher. And though replays showed that second baseman Robinson Cano had applied the tag in enough time, second-base umpire Jeff Nelson called him safe.

After the game, Yankees manager Joe Girardi asked for an expansion of replay to include such calls.

"In this day and age, there is too much at stake, and the technology is available," Girardi said.

Torre, who preceded Girardi as Yankees manager, has evidently heeded that call.

"That's what I'm looking at," Torre said. "We had the play at second base at The Stadium. The umpire, I know he didn't sleep for two nights because he just got to be moving when he made the call. And again, replays showed something else. I'm looking at it -- we're all looking at it -- because we want to make sure that what we do is more plus than minus.

"How do we decide which plays we want to do? Are we going to include everything? And what is that going to entail?"

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow@boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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