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John Farrell on Salk & Holley: ‘I would have expected Salty to have a much quicker reaction’

05.01.13 at 3:19 pm ET
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Red Sox manager John Farrell, in his weekly appearance on the Salk & Holley show, said that catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia should have been familiar with the rule that could have been employed to declare the catcher’s errant pickoff throw to first base a dead ball. Saltalamacchia uncorked a wild throw to first base in an attempt to pick off Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays that permitted a pair of runs to score; after the fact, Saltalamacchia suggested that he bumped home plate ump Clint Fagan with the ball before throwing it, resulting in the errant throw.

However, Saltalamacchia did not raise an objection to the contact with Fagan at the time, and after the game, he acknowledged that he was unfamiliar with the rule that would have declared such a play a dead ball. That, in turn, prevented Farrell from arguing the play at a time when the umpiring crew could have reversed its decision.

“Last night, when a play like that unfolds, you’re watching the reaction of the catcher,” Farrell said on the show. “If there was an opportunity to throw in behind him, we would look to do it. If the throw was accurate, I feel like we execute the play and record the out there.

“Watching Salty make the exchange and seeing where the ball went, I’m watching his footwork and the flight of the baseball, and you would think a normal reaction from the catcher would be, ‘Hey, I got caught up in the umpire’s face mask.’ So at the time, I’m looking at it as, OK, it’s an errant throw.  Then once the next pitch is thrown, you can’t go back and argue that. But as the inning was unfolding on the field, I felt like an explanation needed to be had at that point. The explanation given doesn’t fit with what took place on the field. Still, I would have expected Salty to have a much quicker reaction, like, ‘Hey, I got caught up here.’ Because when you have a bump with the umpire, that’s an immediate dead ball and base runners go back to their base. It would be no different than if a runner was trying to steal second base and that happens, that runner goes back to first base because it wasn’t a clear throwing lane. I didn’t see it at the time. I was watching his footwork and the flight of the baseball.”

Farrell was asked if Saltalamacchia should have been aware of the rule.

“My gut feel of that is yes. Any time you get caught up with the umpire’s mask, you would think there would be a reaction to say, you know what, something didn’t quite go right here,” said Farrell. “It was talked about in the dugout. Others, we were well aware that it is, in fact, a rule. It’s a dead ball rule. Once that interference takes place, that’s a dead ball in and of itself. If that’s what Jarrod’s rationale was, it is a rule. If he gets caught up with the umpire anyway, if he bumps him and it impedes a throw, every runner goes back to their original base.”

Ultimately, Farrell ended up discussing the play with Fagan — who’d been called up from Triple-A — after the inning. The umpire was aware of contact with Saltalamacchia, but ruled that it hadn’t impacted the play.

“The explanation by Clint Fagan behind home plate was that he released the ball and then hit the mask, which, to me, means that Fagan’s face was out in front of his arm, and I don’t see how that physically could have happened,” said Farrell.

While Farrell found Fagan’s explanation unsatisfactory, in retrospect, he concluded that he should have been more proactive in arguing the play as soon as it occurred.

“In hindsight, seeing that kind of reaction, I should have been out there as soon as the ball went into right field,” said Farrell. “It was so far offline that you’ve got to think that something interfered with that.”

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