While many Orioles haven't had the chance to look through the outline of the proposed instant replay installation released by Major League Baseball on Thursday, some still feel the much-talked-about subject will ultimately be a positive for the game.
One of the main arguments against expanded replay is that the system — in which managers would get one challenge in the first six innings and two in the final three — would further slow a game that already can become drawn out.
But shortstop J.J. Hardy, who said he hadn't had a chance to read through the guidelines yet, said replay could end up speeding up the pace of a game.
"In the end, I think that's what everyone wants, to speed to the game up," Hardy said Friday. "So if they do that instead of the manager going out and arguing, he can just challenge it, they get the call right, then it's good."
There is some discussion about the backloading of the challenges to the final three innings as opposed to only one challenge in the first six innings, though a team does get to keep the first challenge if they are successful when they use it.
"I guess we're saying the first six aren't as important as the last three, but, you know, it's a start," manager Buck Showalter said. "Don't get me wrong — you've got to start somewhere. It's going to be better than it was. It improves our game. I think it improves it for the fans."
Hardy took a different approach from Showalter, comparing it to another sport that has phased in instant replay over the years. While he wouldn't put a number with how many plays per game he thought could be challenged, he did say there will probably be a number of games where challenges aren't even used.
"I like it," Hardy said. "I look at it like tennis, how they get to challenge three per set, and then they get an extra one in the tiebreak, so I think it's similar to that. I think everyone wants to get the calls right, but obviously the calls are definitely more important at the end of a game."
In the end, expanded replay is something new for baseball, and there are bound to be pains in installing it completely. Things might change down the road, but the potential benefits are significant.
"It's a good start," Showalter said. "It's a good start. I think you'll only see it get tweaked and better. I guarantee if you look back at the NFL, I bet they've tweaked some things through the years."
Right-hander Kevin Gausman will have his next start in Triple-A Norfolk pushed back because of soreness in his right arm, Showalter said before Friday night's game against the Colorado Rockies.
"He feels good," Showalter said. "He's not happy about not pitching. He's had a little soreness."
Gausman last pitched Aug. 8 against Gwinnett, and he's 0-2 with a 5.20 ERA in six appearances (five starts) for the Tides this season. In his past two outings, he's allowed two runs on six hits over 10 innings, striking out six.
Skipping Gausman's start also works to limit his innings slightly as well. The righty has thrown 1071/3 innings between the Orioles, Norfolk and Double-A Bowie this season. Norfolk also has a six-man rotation, so it allows the other pitchers with the Tides to work on regular rest.
"It wasn't something anyone seemed alarmed about," Showalter said. "There was some give and take about if they were even going to do it."
Norris set to start
Right-hander Bud Norris is still scheduled to pitch today's game after appearing in the final inning Wednesday at Arizona.
"I talked to him about the option, if he wanted to go Sunday," Showalter said. "That was a real short conversation."
Scott Feldman will be available out of the bullpen today, but if he isn't used, he'll pitch Sunday's series finale. The starter is currently listed as TBA.
Norris is 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA in four starts against the Rockies in his career. In two starts in Houston he had a 2.57 ERA, and his ERA at Coors Field was 17.54.
Around the horn
The Orioles' top pick in June's draft, right-hander Hunter Harvey, will start for Single-A short-season Aberdeen on Tuesday night. Harvey is 0-0 with a 1.35 ERA in five Gulf Coast League games. He's struck out 18 batters and walked two in 131/3 innings. … Right-hander Jason Hammel (flexor mass strain) played catch before Friday's game. There's no timetable for his return. … Six Orioles — Wei-Yin Chen, Hardy, Nate McLouth, Troy Patton, Chris Tillman and Matt Wieters — will be at the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to sign 2014 Orioles Pet Calendars. … Before Friday's game, the Orioles recognized players and coaches of the Baltimore RBI League champion teams — Liberty Road, the Gardenville Grays, the Parkville Patriots and the Baltimore Rattlers — on the field. … Friday night's Orioles-Rockies matchup was the first meeting between the two teams since 2007.
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