4/25/2014 9:20 P.M. ET
A's relieved at reinterpretation of transfer rule
By Jane Lee / MLB.com
HOUSTON -- Major League Baseball has reversed course on an offseason change to the transfer rule, essentially going back to the way it had been previously understood.
In what A's third baseman Josh Donaldson deems "common sense," the rule now dictates that a player who loses control of a ball upon intentionally opening his glove while transferring it to his throwing hand has still made a catch.
"If the fielder drops the ball while attempting to remove it to make a throw, the umpires should rule that the ball had been caught, provided that the fielder had secured it in his glove before attempting the transfer," the rule, released Friday, now states. "The umpires will continue to use their judgment as to whether the fielder had complete control over the ball before the transfer."
In advance of this season, MLB had changed the interpretation of a catch to require a player to maintain control of the ball through the entire transfer, which resulted in much confusion on the field in just three weeks of play.
"My understanding is it's judgment more in the fashion of what it used to be, which I think everyone breathes a sigh of relief for that," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It really affected fielders. You do it a certain way your whole life, and now all of a sudden you have to make sure you transfer it securely to your hand, so they were having to rethink it. Certainly not a natural thing to do, so I'm glad they did this."
"We haven't had that many problems with it, but that being said, I'm glad they were able to make it right, because if it's in your glove, it's in your glove," Donaldson said. "I feel like it's common sense. It's just good they did; they saw this is what's best for the game."
Cespedes day to day but unlikely to enter DL
HOUSTON -- Yoenis Cespedes remains day to day with a strained left hamstring, but the A's say the injury is not serious enough to warrant a stint on the disabled list.
Cespedes did not even have an MRI exam, and he was on the field for batting practice on Friday, though he was not expected to be available.
"It's literally day to day at this point," manager Bob Melvin said. "The one thing he can't simulate is getting out of the box, and it's tough to tell a guy to be careful. But I certainly don't think we're looking at a DL thing, and hopefully it's just a couple of days."
Brandon Moss got the start in left field on Friday in place of Cespedes, who sustained the injury during the seventh inning of Thursday's 10-1 victory when legging out an infield single.
It was just Cespedes' second hit in his past five games, spanning 15 at-bats. On the season, he has batted .238/.316/.464 with four home runs and 14 RBIs through 22 games.
A's look to move on after Lowrie pegged
HOUSTON -- Jed Lowrie remains befuddled by his place in what he describes as "an internal issue that they have over there" in Houston's organization.
Moreover, this strange fallout with the Astros should be no more, he believes, particularly because the A's don't plan to retaliate in any way for the dramatics that unfolded in the seventh inning Thursday, when Houston's Paul Clemens drilled Lowrie in the backside with a pitch -- after coming close to doing so twice last week.
Clemens denies the act was intentional. Either way, he was ejected immediately upon pegging Lowrie.
Astros manager Bo Porter was not pleased with Lowrie bunting with a 7-0 lead in the first inning a week ago, even though a shift was activated. Porter later charged the field and yelled at Lowrie, shortly after Clemens nearly hit him with a pitch.
Even though the pitch missed, Lowrie believed the antics to be over. Thursday, they were brought to life again, though Porter repeated Friday what he said last week: "The game takes care of itself." To which Lowrie responded: "What does that even mean?"
"I don't know what else to say, because, clearly, he's just stonewalling," Lowrie continued. "At the end of the day, it seems like an internal issue that they have over there. I don't know if it's frustration or self-realization, but it seems like such an internal problem, honestly."
That was why Lowrie shrugged his shoulders after being hit Thursday and calmly trotted down to first base. Had he motioned toward Clemens or sparked an argument, his teammates would most likely have charged the field. Instead, they went about their business.
The A's entered Friday 4-0 against the Astros this year, outscoring them by 29-8.
"You don't want to give them any extra fuel," said Josh Donaldson, who homered behind Lowrie. "It really depends on what Jed wants to do. If he wants to play it cool and take his base, then we're fine. But if they start talking back and forth with each other, it could've been different. But I think Jed handled it the way he wanted to handle it, and it was squashed."
"I think it was pretty obvious what was going on, and no need to even dignify it," added manager Bob Melvin, who before Friday night's game had not spoken to Porter about the incident. "Just move on and hope it just goes away.
"Personally, I'd just like to move past it. It's been going on too long for me, anyway. I thought we had moved past it when we were at home."
Asked Friday if he ordered Clemens to hit Oakland's shortstop, Porter did not deny it, saying: "The game takes care of itself. I don't think any of us would want to sit here and talk about conversations that take place in the dugout or in the clubhouse. It's almost like, 'What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.'"
Said Lowrie: "When his response is, 'The game takes care of itself,' and, 'George Springer got hit, so I don't see a problem with it,' and then Paul Clemens says, 'I wasn't trying to hit him,' that he cut a fastball and clearly it was a two-seamer coming back into me, they're not on the same page. It's pretty contradicting. It seems like someone should own up for their actions.
"The manager, with his comments, essentially said he didn't see a problem with them throwing at me, and Clemens said he didn't throw at me because he doesn't want to get suspended. That's the way I read it. Like I said last night, every way you look at it, it's stupid, it's embarrassing."
So what's next?
"Honestly, I'm so confused by the situation, I don't even know where it stands," Lowrie said. "I don't know who's keeping score in the situation. I've been confused from the beginning, and it's become more convoluted."