While the St. Louis Cardinals manager had hoped to be on the back fields to watch Alex Reyes throw a pair of simulated innings this morning, Mike Matheny was instead on a conference call with the other MLB managers to discuss the rule changes for 2018.
“Just guys asking questions,” said Matheny. “To me, I don’t think the trips to the mound thing is much of an issue. We’ve kind of figured it out. Just don’t go to the mound. Ask for permission and we’ll let you know when we think you should go and whenever you want to go, you ask and we’ll let you know if it’s a good idea or not.”
But there were still little details of the rule change to discuss. For example, what if a catcher buys time for an umpire to recover after being hit by a pitch? That is up to the umpire’s discretion to allow. Someone else asked about a broken bat and if a mound visit would be charged if there was a replay discussion.
“Replay you can go out there,” confirmed Matheny. “The whole deal is most of the time it’s more of a habit–the guys aren’t going out there with some great content. They’re either giving a guy a rest or they’re going out there to mix up the rhythm. We can do that, really, from staying away from them.
“Half the time, even when a catcher goes out–and this is from experience, there were a lot of times they were looking right through me and they didn’t hear a word I said. There were times I’d ask them, ‘what did I just say?’ It was like talking to your kids some times. They would have this blank look like ‘what?’ and I’d be like ‘what’d I just say…I have no idea…let’s do this over again.’
“Most of the time, that’s the purpose of the visit, to get them to kind of get their head right. Yadi has a sense for that. Carson is gaining that sense too, where he knows he wants to go out. Francisco Pena has done that a number of times, too. He’s just used to the relation. We’re not going to stop them because we’re not a team that necessarily over-does that anyhow. It’s not an issue.”
As for the Alex Reyes throwing session, the reports were good.
“Everything went well,” said Matheny. “As long as he feels good and feels strong, that’s progression.”
photo credit: Brian Stull/STLBaseballWeekly.com