WASHINGTON -- On Thursday night, the Cardinals were the beneficiary of Major League Baseball's now stricter enforcement of its transfer rule, requiring that players keep a ball secured while transferring it from the glove to the bare hand. A day later, manager Mike Matheny noted that the play "looks different to us this year, for sure," and has taken the opportunity to revisit how he expects it to be called moving forward.
The shift in interpretation is one of the byproducts of expanded instant replay. Managers received another memo from the Commissioner's Office on Friday that revisited some points about the replay system. Among them was this transfer rule, which MLB had previously tried to clarify in a statement:
"Umpires and/or replay officials must consider whether the fielder had secured possession of the ball but dropped it during the act of the catch. An example of a catch that would not count is if a fielder loses possession of the ball during the transfer before the ball was secured by his throwing hand."
This was the first time this season that the Cardinals have seen a play in which there seemed to be grey area as to how the rule would be applied. In this instance, Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa caught a feed from his shortstop, but then dropped the ball as he went to grab it from his glove.
"It looked like one of those plays where you'd typically see an out called in the past," Matheny said.
Jon Jay appeared to think so, too, as he was beginning to come off the base and head to the dugout when he saw the umpire signal him safe.
"What's going to have to happen is we're going to have to adhere to what the rule originally said," Matheny said. "My interpretation is that it has to be in the act of throwing. If the arm is going forward and the ball is lost, that is different than if the catch is made and then the transfer is made before the arm actually moves into the throwing process. Now, what exactly that looks like, I'm not sure."
Nationals manager Matt Williams came out to argue the call, but chose not to challenge. He told reporters afterward that his video staff in the clubhouse concluded that "it didn't look like he had a whole lot of control."
Matheny, who has not used a challenge yet this year, said he will likely be aggressive in challenging this sort of call until there is a better understanding of how the rule will be consistently applied
"Will it blow up in our face? I don't know because it just seems kind of loose at this point," Matheny said. "It definitely looks different. I believe it's probably just one of those issues that's going to be worked out over time. I think the longer we're involved in this replay process, the more we're going to understand how things will be ruled.
"I'm sure if that happened against us, I would have been out there making some sort of fuss. It's one of those holes, I think, because it's just been done differently. I think it's going to be a change in the game. I think it will take a little time, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out."
Matheny talks leadership at U.S. Department of State
WASHINGTON -- Manager Mike Matheny accepted an invitation to speak to the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the U.S. Department of State on Friday as part of its speaker series to promote the development and practice of leadership.
Matheny spent about an hour at a lectern on stage in an auditorium holding approximately 200 people at the Department of State building. His lecture was simultaneously broadcast on the State Department's internal network so that employees at U.S. Embassies around the world could listen.
"It was a great honor and something I was happy to be able to do," Matheny said. "As I start breaking down what they list as the tenets and the foundation of what they need to do to help out the people who are entrusted to them, they're very, very similar to the ones I see in successful corporate America, and very, very similar to the ones I've seen happen inside a successful clubhouse.
"When it comes down to the application, it's how do you lead, challenge and encourage people. And that's something I feel very strongly is a large part of what I get to do."
Matheny has spoken on the topic of leadership with various corporations and civic groups in the past. In this session, he split his time speaking from prepared remarks and then taking questions from those in attendance.
"We're always looking for people who can inspire us to be better leaders," said John Whiteley, a spokesperson for the bureau. "We were impressed by Mike's records of leadership. And finally, the Department of State has Americans from all over the country working here in Washington and all over the world. Many of them are Cards fans."
• Triple-A Memphis lost to Nashville on Thursday despite notable performances from outfielders Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk. Piscotty hit his first Triple-A home run, while Grichuk had a two hit, three-RBI night. Greg Garcia also had three hits in the loss.
• Luis Mateo, who lost his Triple-A roster spot this week when Pete Kozma was sent down to Memphis, delivered the game-winning, ninth-inning RBI single on Thursday in his first game with Double-A Springfield. Starter Seth Blair allowed one run on five hits in a six-inning no-decision.
• In conjunction with the fifth annual Green Week at Busch Stadium, the Cardinals, along with Goodwill, will host an e-cycling drive on April 22, during which fans can drop off unwanted electronics from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT. From April 25-27, the Cardinals will also be collecting shoes at the Busch Stadium gates to benefit the Shoeman Water Projects, which creates clean drinking water by selling shoes for resale.
For a full listing of Green Week events, visit cardinals.com/greenweek.
• An error charged to Jayson Werth in Thursday's St. Louis win has been changed to a double for Yadier Molina. Werth said after the game that he lost the ball in the lights. The change reduced the error committed by the Nationals in the game to three.
• The Cardinals have submitted a formal request for Major League Baseball to review what was ruled a hit by Wily Peralta off Seth Maness in the seventh inning of Wednesday's game. The Cardinals have requested the call be changed to an error on Jhonny Peralta, who couldn't catch what he described as a "knuckleball" line drive.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.