Yesterday's game between Toledo and Indianapolis included probably the most controversial call made by a "replacement" umpire in a Mud Hens game this season.
The call didn't cost Toledo a victory, as the Hens defeated Indianapolis 3-0. But the call by home-plate umpire Randy Bockman did eventually lead to the ejection of manager Larry Parrish.
Toledo was batting with runners on first and second and two outs in the fifth inning. Ryan Ludwick hit a sharp line drive that third baseman Jose Bautista speared with a dive, then dropped when his glove hit the ground.
Bautista quickly jumped up and threw wildly to first, allowing both baserunners to score and giving Ludwick a shot at third.
But Bockman said Bautista had made the catch, ending the inning. Parrish then engaged Bockman in an animated argument before getting ejected.
"He said it was a catch," Parrish said. "I said, 'Yeah, he caught it originally, but the ball came out.' You're supposed to be able to take the ball out of the glove.
"To me, the third-baseman told me [by his actions] if he caught it or not. He didn't come up looking to see if he got the call - he came up throwing without any hesitation. He knew that the ball came out."
The International League does not allow contact between the media and the replacement umpires. IL teams have not announced the names of the umpires for its games this season.
The only other unusual call yesterday came in the fourth, when Indianapolis starter Tom Gorzelanny seemed to have struck out David Espinosa. Meanwhile, a ball got loose behind home plate, causing the umpires to call a timeout before the pitch.
On the next pitch from Gorzelanny Espinosa doubled, and eventually scored the game's first run."
"[On the pitch to Espinosa] I saw the ball get loose and I told the umpire at third," Parrish said. "He started yelling, 'Time! Time! Time!' But with the kids screaming, nobody could hear."
This season minor-league umpires have been replaced by local college and amateur umpires as well as former professional umpires.
"I didn't really see anything else that was bad - I didn't have any other major beefs in this game," Parrish said. "The guy behind the plate I watched [on TV in the clubhouse]. He had a big plate, a big strike zone, but it looked as if it was consistent the whole game."
Parrish declined comment when asked about the level of umpiring he has seen from replacement umpires this season.
STAFF CHANGES: The Mud Hens made some changes to their pitching staff yesterday, adding a reliever and jumbling up the rotation.
The reliever is right-hander Matt Mantei, who was added to the active roster before yesterday's game. To make room for Mantei the parent Tigers sent lefty Lance Davis to Single-A Lakeland.
Davis, who was 0-2 with a 6.41 ERA in four starts for the Mud Hens, was scheduled to start Sunday in Louisville.
Among the options to take Davis' spot in the rotation are two right-handers: Roman Colon, who began the season on the disabled list because of problems with his right shoulder, and Tony Fiore, who just came off the disabled list Monday.