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MLB clarifies interpretation of transfer rule

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Bob Levey

NEW YORK -- A catch is a catch again in Major League Baseball. MLB and its Playing Rules Committee has reviewed the new transfer rule and a new interpretation will begin with play Friday night all over the league.

From now on, a legal catch or a force out or tag occurs "f the fielder had complete control over the ball in his glove, but drops the ball after intentionally opening his glove to make the transfer to his throwing hand.  There is no requirement that the fielder successfully remove the ball from his glove in order for it be ruled 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 Umpires will continue to use their judgment as to whether the fielder had complete control over the ball before the transfer."

The change was agreed upon by MLB, the MLB Players Association, and the World Umpires Association.

In the first nearly four weeks of the season, several plays that were previously deemed catches were called no catch under the new interpretation of the rule, which was clarified with Friday's ruling. A few examples:

The closest I can remember the Dodgers coming to having a catch overturned by the transfer rule was on April 16 in the first inning in San Francisco, though upon further review it's unclear just how long Matt Kemp had control of the ball.

The MLB Playing Rules Committee, which consists of Mets GM Sandy Alderson, PCL chairman Sam Bernabe, Hall of Famer Rod Carew (he converted), umpire Brian Gorman, MLB executive VP John McHale Jr., Twins GM Terry Ryan, Braves president John Schuerholz, former Angels GM Bill Stoneman and MLB executive VP of baseball operations Joe Torre, is also, per Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports, reportedly reviewing the interpretation of Rule 7.13, the home plate collision rule that came into play in Thursday night's game against the Phillies.