CHICAGO -- Fans, players and coaches collectively rejoiced Friday morning when Major League Baseball announced it had tweaked the confusing and sometimes maddening transfer rule.
MLB adopted a stricter interpretation of the rule at the start of the season, saying fielders needed to completely control the ball through a catch, including transferring the ball from glove to hand, for the play to be considered an out. That interpretation has been changed in favor of the traditional definition.
"An out has occurred whenever a player has complete control over the ball in his glove, and if he drops the ball after opening his glove, it will still be ruled an out. There is no requirement to successfully remove the ball from the glove for it to be an out," MLB's Playing Rules Committee said Friday.
"It was odd to watch and see how many guys were catching balls and then taking five steps and waiting for them to pull it out," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It just feels natural the way it is announced today, that they're going back to the same thing.
"There were just too many plays where a fly ball in the outfield and they didn't signal until you could actually see the guy hold it up. It's good."
The Sox experienced the transfer rule first-hand on April 2. Adam Eaton caught an Oswaldo Arcia fly ball to center and dropped the ball on the transfer. The play was originally ruled a catch, but overturned after a review.
Some have criticized baseball for making a rules change during the season, but White Sox general manager Rick Hahn commended the rules committee for acting proactively.
"Certainly in terms of what the rule was and how they're interpreting it, it made sense," Hahn said. "But I think this is probably going to make for a more comfortable, more logical on-field calls and reviews."
Joe Popely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.