Umpires feel heat from missed calls

Staff writerMay 10, 2013 

It has been a long two days for major league umpires.

Back-to-back botched calls on Wednesday and Thursday led to the rare step of Major League Baseball handing out multiple fines and one suspension to an umpire crew.

In Thursday night’s Angels-Astros game, the umpires allowed a second pitching change when the original pitcher was warming up and had yet to face a batter. Friday, MLB suspended umpire Fieldin Culbreth for two games and fined him and his crew of three for the gaffe.

Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin was incensed Wednesday when a home run was ruled a double, even after video review. The homer would have tied the game against the Cleveland Indians that the A’s lost, 4-3.

MLB executive vice president Joe Torre said video review is a “judgment” call, and the call by Angel Hernandez, though clearly wrong, would stand.

“Missed replay call is a tough one,” Mariners catcher Kelly Shoppach said. “We had that in place, so we could review it and that doesn’t happen. I’ve been in stadiums where the video is not very good and it can be tough to tell.”

He also said he didn’t think the latest errors undermined the players’ faith in umpires.

“It’s a challenge for them,” Shoppach said. “The umpires are doing the best they can. They (make) human errors just like we make human errors.”

Mariners manager Eric Wedge preferred not to comment on the umpires, but did say he thought replay has been “healthy” for the game.

GUTIERREZ on mend, AGAIN

After leaving the game April 22 with a strained left hamstring and being placed on the 15-day disabled list, Franklin Gutierrez is getting closer to returning.

Gutierrez said he feels “good.” He has been running and taking batting practice for a week, but he’s yet to go at full speed or navigate the bases after the latest in a long string of injuries for the center fielder.

Gutierrez sounded optimistic, although Wedge was less upbeat about the timeline.

“He’s feeling pretty good, but we’re not (at) the point where we’re going to run him just yet,” Wedge said. “Still going to take some time for him to get back. He’s progressing. We just haven’t done anything 100 percent.”

SHORT HOPS

With Friday night’s win, the Mariners are 16-8 when their starting pitcher goes at least six innings. … The Mariners are in the midst of playing 14 of 17 games on the road, with this weekend’s three-game series against Oakland the only break. It’s the only time the Mariners are home from May 1-24. … Right-handers are 0-for-26 this season against closer Tom Wilhelmsen.

ON TAP

Rookie Brandon Maurer (2-4, 6.07 ERA) faces Oakland’s Jarrod Parker (1-5, 7.34) today at 6:10 p.m. The game will be broadcast on Root Sports and 710-AM.

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.com
blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners
@Todd_Dybas

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