OAKLAND -- Umpire crew chief Bill Miller reached out to A's manager Bob Melvin Friday morning to try and explain the umpiring crew's reasoning in the second inning call that resulted in the A's playing Thursday's game under protest.
The protest became moot when the A's wound up winning the game 4-1, but the challenge put forth by the Blue Jays gave Toronto the game's first run, and the A's weren't happy.
"I had a conversation with Bill Miller this morning,'' Melvin said. "He came over and explained to me what the thought process was. I appreciate that and I think it was probably a no-win for anybody at the time. I appreciate them trying to keep me up to speed with that they were thinking.''
It was a muddle.
With the bases loaded and one out, Nate Freiman handled a grounder, tried to tag Jays base runner Munenori Kawasaki as he went by, missing him. He then threw to the plate to Stephen Vogt, the catcher stepping on the plate for a force out. Jays manager John Gibbons challenged, saying Kawasaki was out.
That meant the innings' second out, but it also meant Edwin Encarnacion would score because the force was no longer in effect and Vogt hadn't tagged Encarnacion. The umps saw it the Jays' way, and the A's played the game under protest from that point, saying the first call materially affected the play at the plate.
"It was a tough one,'' Melvin said. "But again they (the umpires) are at the mercy of what the guys upstairs are telling them. Even if they had a particular thought, it's going to be decided by the people upstairs. I'm glad it didn't get to the point where it affected outcome of the game and to where you need to make a decision on the protest.''
He said he didn't need much prompting to memorize his lines.
"My dad loved Lou Gehrig, and because of that so did I,'' Moss said. He wore Gehrig's No. 4 as a Little Leaguer. "We watched 'Pride of the Yankees' before every Little League game I played. Every one.''
When Melvin received a visit from Cespedes just a couple of minutes later, the outfielder said he was good to play in left field.
That made for some restructuring that led to Derek Norris getting into the lineup as the catcher and Alberto Callaspo getting the start off.
Melvin said an MRI on the player's leg showed a slight muscle tear instead of the calf strain that was the original diagnosis.
That being the case, the A's don't expect to see Blanks back in uniform any time soon, and that means more time at the big league level for the man who replaced him on the roster, first baseman Nate Freiman.