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WORLD SERIES FYI

Umpires consult replay on Alex Rodriguez's home run

Fourth-inning assist was the first time the technology was used in postseason history.

November 01, 2009|Kevin Baxter

PHILADELPHIA — Jeff Nelson was the umpire closest to Alex Rodriguez's fourth-inning line drive into the right-field corner. But he didn't have the best view of it.

"In this particular play the ball hit something hard, solid," he said. "In my judgment it was the top of the fence."

Another umpire, Joe West, thought the ball hit a fan.

That left enough doubt among the six-man officiating crew for crew chief Gerry Davis to ask for a video replay, the first time an umpire has done that in postseason history.

And in this case the pictures clearly told the story: The ball hit a TV camera hanging over the wall, giving Rodriguez a home run that started the New York Yankees on their way to an 8-5 win in Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday in Philadelphia.

"Because we cannot control what the cameraman does with the camera, one of the specific ground rules is when the ball hits the camera, home run," Davis said.

The umpires haven't had much luck with calls -- or video -- this postseason, with replays showing they've missed several plays that aren't covered by baseball's limited replay rule. But Davis didn't hesitate to ask for another look Saturday, pulling his crew off the field to huddle around a TV monitor.

"I think it's an assistance," he said. "Our objective is to get every play correct. And on boundary calls that's one of the toughest things we have. There's no reason that [replay] helps."

Who'll stop the rain?

Two of last fall's three World Series games in Philadelphia were hampered by rain, including Game 5, which was played in a quagmire before being halted after five innings and finished two days later.

As a result, Commissioner Bud Selig appeared to exercise extra caution Saturday, meeting with both teams and eventually delaying the start of Game 3 nearly an hour an a half to allow two strong rain bands to pass through.

Still the rain left a wet track behind. When the Phillies took the field, Jayson Werth had to hop over several puddles to reach his spot in right field while Yankee left fielder Johnny Damon slipped and nearly fell trying to field a ball on the warning track in the bottom of the first.

Even the Phillie Phanatic slipped in the wet grass.

"I like to see us play in good weather," Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel said. "But there again, both teams are playing. Hey, we've got to play, they've got to play. That's no excuse. That's the bottom line. The field was playable, so we had to play."

Sabathia gets Game 4 start

Before Saturday's game Yankees Manager Joe Girardi confirmed what most people already suspected by naming CC Sabathia his starter for tonight's Game 4 on short rest. By using Sabathia tonight, Girardi also has the left-hander lined up to pitch Game 7 on Thursday, should the series go that far.

"I've had enough rest the past two months to be able to feel comfortable enough to go out there and pitch on three days' rest," Sabathia said.

Sabathia is 3-1 with a 1.52 earned-run average in four postseason starts this fall, including an eight-inning outing in which he held the Angels to a run on five hits pitching on short rest. His only loss came in Game 1 of the World Series against the Phillies, who also beat Sabathia, then with the Milwaukee Brewers, in last year's division series.

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kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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