Fair or foul? There were differing viewpoints on whether Nick Markakis’s leadoff double against Red Sox starter John Lackey in Friday night’s 8-4 loss to the Orioles was fair — which it was — or foul, which Lackey and his teammates felt was the correct call.
Ejected last week in New York by first base umpire Bob Davidson, and fined an undisclosed sum for criticizing Major League Baseball’s instant replay system, Sox manager John Farrell probably didn’t have his opinion altered one iota after he lost his challenge on Markakis’s hit, making him 0 for 3 on challenges this season.
Video replays on the center-field scoreboard seemed to confirm that Markakis’s hit landed in foul territory.
“I knew it was going to be close because I could tell the ball off the bat [was] slicing,’’ Markakis said. “It is what it is. They said it was fair and the replay did. The only way you can tell is a closer look than that, and they didn’t have a closer look.
“They think they got it right and it worked out for us.’’
Sox third baseman Brock Holt disputed the call and said he had a perfect view of the play from his position.
“I was right there, personally I thought it was foul,’’ Holt said. “But they went and took a look at it and called it fair, so it must have caught some chalk on the line. From my angle, I saw it hit dirt. I didn’t see any chalk fly up.’’
Asked why he didn’t ask the umpires to take a closer look at the chalk line down the left-field line, Farrell said, “There’s really no need to go out and look, because video is available to us. We followed the steps that were available to us and, unfortunately the call [stood].’’
Farrell was given a bit of a reprieve in the eighth when he went out to question a close call by first base umpire Mark Carlson, who called out Holt on his ground ball to second.
“I felt Holt beat the throw,’’ Farrell said. “Mark Carlson said he’d go back and take a look at it. And we got one. But it was a little bit too late tonight.’’
Out in left field
Grady Sizemore spent considerable time during practice taking fly balls off the Green Monster. It was in preparation for his first career start in left field at Fenway Park. Asked if he had any trepidation about sending Sizemore to left, one of the toughest spots to play in baseball, Farrell said it was his comfort level with Daniel Nava’s ability to play right field that cemented his decision. “So, we can’t go out and have so much repetition to get him comfortable,’’ Farrell said. “He’s going to get some [reps], but he’s the left fielder.’’ . . . Shane Victorino, on the disabled list since March 31 (retroactive to March 30) with a strained right hamstring, worked out with the team before the game and took batting practice. Farrell said Victorino would begin his rehab assignment at Triple A Pawtucket Saturday.
Third baseman Will Middlebrooks, whose return from a right calf strain was hampered by flu-like symptoms, returned to the clubhouse Friday. “Improved,’’ was how Farrell described his condition. “He wasn’t as severely sick as Vic when we kept him away for about 6-7 days,’’ Farrell said. “But I don’t think this is going to delay Will on his rehab assignment.’’ . . . Jackie Bradley will celebrate his 24th birthday Saturday. Bradley went 1 for 3 Friday night and has now reached base in 12 of 16 games. “Because he went through the challenges of a year ago, I think he’s more familiar with what the opposition is trying to do and I think he’s more aware of his own abilities,’’ Farrell said. “I see him maintaining his confidence even though it’s been kind of tough for him to buy a base hit at this point, I just see him being more familiar with the Major League setting overall and that’s allowed his confidence to remain.’’ . . . The Red Sox observed a moment of silence before the game for Orioles outfielder Paul Blair, who died in December at age 69, and Monica Pence Barlow, Baltimore’s public relations director who died from lung cancer Feb. 28 at 36.