MLB does away with confusing new transfer rule on catches

Tim Brown
Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder Travis Snider slides to make the catch on a fly ball hit by Milwaukee Brewers' Jonathan Lucroy during the ninth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Thursday, April 17, 2014. The Pirates won 11-2. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Major League Baseball has scrapped the new transfer rule, four weeks after it attempted to redefine the simple concept of ball possession. Beginning Friday night, a ball in the glove will again be considered a catch, even if a fielder drops the ball while transferring it to his bare hand.

The rule had sought primarily to address the glove-to-hand exchange at second base, especially during double plays, but had bled across the field, leading to rampant confusion among defenders and baserunners.

After consultation with the Players Association and the World Umpires Association, MLB's Playing Rules Committee has reinterpreted – re-reinterpreted, actually – the definition of a legal catch.

"There is no requirement that the fielder successfully remove the ball from his glove in order for it to be ruled a catch," according to the committee's statement. "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."

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