HOUSTON -- Major League Baseball has reversed course on an offseason change to the transfer rule, essentially going back to the way it had been previously understood.
In what A's third baseman Josh Donaldson deems "common sense," the rule now dictates that a player who loses control of a ball upon intentionally opening his glove while transferring it to his throwing hand has still made 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 rule, released Friday, now states. "The umpires will continue to use their judgment as to whether the fielder had complete control over the ball before the transfer."
In advance of this season, MLB had changed the interpretation of a catch to require a player to maintain control of the ball through the entire transfer, which resulted in much confusion on the field in just three weeks of play.
"My understanding is it's judgment more in the fashion of what it used to be, which I think everyone breathes a sigh of relief for that," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It really affected fielders. You do it a certain way your whole life, and now all of a sudden you have to make sure you transfer it securely to your hand, so they were having to rethink it. Certainly not a natural thing to do, so I'm glad they did this."
"We haven't had that many problems with it, but that being said, I'm glad they were able to make it right, because if it's in your glove, it's in your glove," Donaldson said. "I feel like it's common sense. It's just good they did; they saw this is what's best for the game."