Crew OK on ruling for Hart's near-catch
Outfielder could not keep control of Werth's sixth-inning liner
MILWAUKEE -- Unfortunately for right fielder Corey Hart and the Milwaukee Brewers, the Major League Baseball rules worked against them in the sixth inning of Game 3 of the best-of-five NLDS at Miller Park.
While the Brewers prevailed, 4-1, to trim the Phillies' series lead to 2-1, the Hart near-catch helped account for Philadelphia's lone run.
Leading off the sixth inning, Jayson Werth drilled a hard liner off Dave Bush to deep right field. Going full speed, Hart made a gallant effort to run down the ball on the warning track.
The ball was in Hart's glove about the time the right fielder smacked hard into the wall. When he stumbled to the ground, the ball popped out of the glove. Hustling all the way, Werth ended up on third with a triple, while right-field outfield umpire Mark Wegner ruled no catch.
"It would have been a great catch," Brewers outfield coach Ed Sedar said. "That was a great effort. But Corey does that every day, gives you that effort."
Werth scored one out later on Ryan Howard's groundout to third base.
Why wasn't Hart credited with a catch? The play wasn't even disputed by Brewers manager Dale Sveum.
According to MLB Rule 2.00 -- Definition of Terms, a catch basically states a player has to be able to pull the ball from his glove.
The definition is: "A catch is the act of a fielder in getting secure possession in his hand or glove of a ball in flight and firmly holding it, providing he does not use his cap, protector, pocket or any other part of his uniform in getting possession. It is not a catch, however, if simultaneously or immediately following his contact with the ball, he collides with a player, or with the wall, or if he falls down, and as a result of such collision or falling, drops the ball.
"It is not a catch if a fielder touches a fly ball which then hits a member of the offensive team or an umpire and then is caught by another defensive player. If the fielder has made the catch and drops the ball while in the act of making a throw following the catch, the ball shall be adjudged to have been caught. In establishing the validity of the catch, the fielder shall hold the ball long enough to prove that he has complete control of the ball and that his release of the ball is voluntary and intentional."
Essentially, a catch is legal if the ball is finally held by any fielder, even if juggled, or held by another fielder before it touches the ground.
From Sveum's view, the correct call was made.
"I kind of knew what happened," Sveum said. "I had a pretty good view of it."
Sveum did get on the top step, thinking of asking the umpires.
"Corey never did really reach in his glove and pull it out," Sveum said. "Once you make contact with an object or another player, you have to get up and grab the ball out of your glove, otherwise it is not a catch. Corey verified it. He said he was just getting ready to go in, and he was trying to get it, and it just trickled out of his glove before he was able to grab it."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.