A Note On The "Infield Fly Rule" And On Wuertz

The consensus seemed to be that the umps got it right when they ruled "no infield fly rule" on Gabe Gross' looper to 2B, and perhaps that's true. However after seeing the footage of the play, when I Iooked it up in the Rule Book I actually became a little less convinced, not more. If you're interested, here's how the Rule Book defines an "infield fly" for purposes of calling the "infield fly rule":

"On the infield fly rule the umpire is to rule whether the ball could ordinarily have been handled by an infielder -- not by some arbitrary limitation such as the grass, or the base lines." Height is not specifically mentioned, but would logically be included in the arbitrary limitations that should not determine the call. Looking at that definition alongside the play, I think Geren has a good argument. Not that it ultimately mattered in this latest debacle of a team displaying few skills, worse morale, and seemingly non-existent leadership.

Also, as frustrated as fans are with Michael Wuertz I want to say I think they're being a bit hard on him, and on the team's use of him. Look at his 10th inning on Tuesday night. His first pitch was a "get ahead fastball," in a spot (leadoff hitter, new pitcher) where the batter is often taking. If Ramon Hernandez is taking, or if he's looking slider -- usually the right guess with Wuertz -- or if he hooks it 6" more to the left, perhaps we're talking about an A's win. Then Brandon Phillips hit a pop fly to RF, then a sacrifice bunt, and Wuertz is out. One bad pitch -- or really one wrong assessment on the wisdom of a "get ahead fastball." He's getting there.

Wuertz should have spent 3 weeks in the minor leagues and had a true "spring training" -- bringing him back after a week and just a handful of innings (in which he was shaky) was setting him up to fail. I think he'll turn it around and that he'll do it soon, and the fact that the A's can't predict exactly what day that will be is not on them. The A's just have so little reliability in the bullpen right now that rolling the dice with Wuertz is just a different gamble than rolling the dice with Ziggy or Blevins or Ross. Rushing Wuertz back to wobble at the big league level, however, is totally on the organization, and never should have happened.

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