The replays were inconclusive in that respect, but it raised another question:
Was Ullger trying to fake out Teahen?
I captured the frames from this video to illustrate my point. As the throw’s coming into Teahen — and Hardy is stepping on third — Ullger starts side-stepping toward the bag (Fig.1). After Hardy clears the area, Ullger steps into the field of play while Teahen is turning to throw (Fig. 2).
As Teahen makes the exchange from glove to hand and begins his throwing motion, Ullger is clearly within the lines (Fig. 3), and not to get a good view of the action at home, because he’s not looking that way. He’s looking at Teahen, and one could gather from his positioning that he’s trying to imitate a runner who has pulled into third and is seeing if the ball gets away.
If Ullger was trying to fool Teahen, Teahen didn’t bite. He makes the throw home, while Ullger is slow to turn (Fig. 4) and watch Hardy’s demise at home.
Obviously it didn’t matter, but it would’ve been interesting to see what would’ve happened if the relay were botched, because what Ullger is doing seems to be in violation of rule 7.09(i), in which…
With a runner on third base, the base coach leaves his box and acts in any manner to draw a throw by a fielder;
… is defined as an act of interference.
Hey, it wouldn’t be the first time a Sox-Twins game ended without recording an out.
If he’s not imitating a baserunner, I don’t know what else he could be doing. And if Ron Gardenhire said Ullger was surprised to see Teahen handling the relay throw on the Jim Thome shift, maybe Ullger didn’t know what he was doing, either.
It’s an interesting bit of gamesmanship and a fun hypothetical at the very least. I’m genuinely curious, and not only because it could have affected the outcome of this game. If what Ullger did is kosher, then Jeff Cox should keep this trick tucked under his helmet. Chances are he’ll be playing the role of Ullger at some point before this season (or week) is over.
Minor league roundup:
- Charlotte 8, Gwinnett 2
- C.J. Retherford homered, singled and drove in three. He was picked off once.
- Jordan Danks doubled, walked twice and struck out twice.
- Tyler Flowers went 1-for-3 with a double, walk and a strikeout; Dayan Viciedo doubled and K’d in four ABs.
- Brent Lillibridge went 3-for-4 with a double and a stolen base.
- Matt Zaleski struck out six over six, allowing one run on four hits and two walks.
- Carolina 4, Birmingham 1
- Christian Marrero doubled and struck out.
- Tyler Kuhn had the only other hit, a single, and drove in the lone run.
- Brent Morel went 0-for-4 with a K.
- Anthony Carter was ineffective: 3 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 3 K.
- Miguel Socolovich and Henry Mabee each threw three scoreless innings.
- Winston-Salem 5, Kinston 1
- Eduardo Escobar went 2-for-3 with a double, walk, a sac fly and an RBI. He struck out once.
- Nevin Griffith allowed one run on three hits and a walk over six innings, striking out two.
- Dan Remenowsky struck out the side, allowing a hit over a scoreless inning.
- Josh Phegley singled twice and struck out three times in five at-bats.
- Justin Greene wore the golden sombrero.
- Jon Gilmore only gets the silver sombrero, but he also committed his first error of the season.
- Rome 10, Kannapolis 4
- Miguel Gonzalez went 2-for-5 with a double and a strikeout.
- Daniel Wagner went 3-for-4 with two RBI.
- Brady Shoemaker went 1-for-5 with three K’s; Kyle Colligan: 0-for-4 with 2 K’s; Nick Ciolli singled and scored a run.
- Juan Silverio drew a walk, and committed his second error.
- Kyle Bellamy struggled in his inning, allowing one run on a hit and two walks. He struck out two.