New rule proving to be a challenge for Rick Renteria
BY TONI GINNETTI Staff Reporter April 6, 2014 9:58PM
Updated: April 6, 2014 11:29PM
Manager Rick Renteria was the first to use baseball’s new instant-replay challenge system, losing the appeal of an out call at first against Jeff Samardzija last Monday.
Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg made his first challenge Sunday, losing the appeal of a close out call at first against Chase Utley in the fifth inning.
One week into the season, the new system is meshing into the flow of managing a game, though it hasn’t necessarily ended controversy.
‘‘Everybody has developed their own style in terms of appealing,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘I don’t know that I have an advantage [as a first-year manager] over a veteran manager. We all were given the same information. It’s how it impacts your game in that particular situation.’’
The new process is a team effort of its own. The manager gets input from his coaches and those monitoring video before deciding if a challenge is worthwhile.
Conversations with umpires have tended to get longer before challenges. Renteria spent a long time Friday with plate umpire Hal Gibson debating whether Darwin Barney had been hit by a Roberto Hernandez pitch. Renteria decided against a challenge.
Renteria said umpires have been ‘‘pretty cordial’’ so far in the process.
‘‘They’ll tell you, ‘I got a pretty good look at it, so I don’t think you should [challenge],’ ’’ he said.
Renteria told Starlin Castro before Sunday’s game that he would be batting sixth — not a punishment but an opportunity to use his good career numbers against A.J. Burnett in potential run-scoring situations.
Castro came through in the first with an RBI double in the four-run inning.
‘‘Anything he thinks I can do is OK,’’ Castro said. ‘‘We had trouble scoring with men in scoring position in Pittsburgh, so today was a good day for us.’’
Renteria said moving Castro around in the order is a way to help the former two-time All-Star.
‘‘You’ll see Castro in any number throughout [the order],’’ he said. “It’s like anything, we’re trying to get him comfortable. It was no big deal to him.’’
Hitting opportunities II
Outfielder Ryan Kalish had an RBI triple in the first and a two-RBI double in the sixth. It was his first multihit game since Sept. 15, 2010, when he was with Boston.
Kalish missed last season because of shoulder surgery.
‘‘I call it making the most of helping my team win,’’ Kalish said. ‘‘Especially after everything I’ve been through, I want to give it my all.’’
‘‘He had a great spring [hitting .304 as a non-roster invitee],’’ Renteria said. ‘‘His at-bats have been good the whole time. It’s no surprise the outcome he had today.’’
Top prospect Javier Baez started the season 0-for-9 with Class AAA Iowa and was ejected Saturday for arguing a called third strike. He homered Sunday.
‘‘They’re all young and trying to get through the growing pains,’’ Renteria said.
Albert Almora ended his own 0-for-9 start with a five-hit game for Class A Daytona.