Joe Torre and the folks in the MLB offices might want to send Chase Utley a fruit basket. The Phillies second baseman prevented the league offiices from having an unfortunate mess on its hands.
Utley hit a go-ahead home run to snap a tie in the 8th inning of Sunday's game with the Marlins. But he should have been credited with the go-ahead RBI two innings earlier.
In the sixth inning, Utley hit a double and Tony Gwynn Jr. appeared to be in position to score the go-ahead run. But Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis positioned himself in front of the plate, before he received the ball.
Gwynn slid into Mathis's leg, but the catcher applied the tag and Gwynn was ruled out on the play. After manager Ryne Sandberg took the field in protest of the play, the umpires reviewed it. But the play stood as called: Gwynn was ruled out.
Several hours later, however, Ruben Amaro Jr. received a phone call from Torre, who works in MLB's baseball operations office.
"They viewed the catcher never gave Gwynn a lane to home plate, which is the first part of the rule we're all supposed to tell the catchers and base runners," Sandberg said of Torre's message to Amaro. "He took the plate away early when he was at third base. Gwynn had no lane to third base. So they thought that was a problem."
Luckily for MLB, Utley's home run led the Phillies to a win. It would have been interesting if, say, the game went to extra innings and the Marlins won by a run. ... and then MLB phoned Amaro to tell them they screwed up.
"It's early in the process, it's early in the system," Sandberg said. "Possibly it's a play that's reviewed and showed, they can learn from it. In the rule, it clearly says the catcher has to give a lane to the base runner. It was taken away the whole time. So, I think they'll learn from that one. It could have done our way. Or, it should have gone our way."
Major League Baseball implemented new home plate rules this winter to take home plate collisions out of the game.
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A.J. Burnett won't miss his turn in the rotation after all.
Burnett, who left his start on Friday with a groin injury, had an ultrasound this morning that revealed a small inguinal hernia. But according to assistant GM Scott Proefrock it's an injury that's manageable and Burnett will pitch through it, beginning with his scheduled start on Wednesday.
Burnett had a corticosteroid injection to deal with the pain.
"He's feeling fine," Proefrock said.
In other pitching/health-related news, reliever Mike Adams will be activated from the DL before Tuesday's game. A corresponding roster move will come at some point in the next 24 hours.