For a play at the plate, the whole thing was awkward.
Brandon Moss shot a line drive into the left-field corner in the third inning of Oakland’s 3-2 victory Sunday at Fenway Park. With Grady Sizemore chasing it down and relaying it to cutoff man Xander Bogaerts, Josh Donaldson figured he had enough time to score from first.
Meanwhile, catcher A.J. Pierzynski was trying to play everything by the book.
The book, of course, had been updated in the offseason.
Runners can’t crash into catchers. Unless they have the ball, catchers can’t block the plate.
The intent was to turn ugly collisions at the plate into safer plays for everyone involved.
“Normally I would’ve been in the line and it probably would’ve been a collision on that play,” Pierzynski said. “That’s one of those situations where I’m glad he has to slide because it probably would’ve been a heck of a collision.
“But it’s just weird because you just don’t feel like you’re comfortable because you just don’t know where you can stand and what’s legal and what’s not legal.”
Pierzynski grabbed the throw from Bogaerts, slipped his left foot in front of the plate, and got the tag down just before Donaldson came sliding in. Plate umpire Mark Ripperger punched Donaldson out. But it took a video review to make sure.
“I don’t think anybody knows exactly what the rule is,” Pierzynski said. “I know I gave him a lane and when I caught the ball, I just tried to go. It’s so hard because I’ve been taught all these years to just do whatever you can to keep the guy from getting there. So it’s a little different in waiting.
“Even talking to some of the umpires, they don’t even know exactly.”
Pedroia the pick
In his new book, retired Yankees star Mariano Rivera writes that the Red Sox’ Dustin Pedroia — not Robinson Cano — is the second baseman he would want most on his side.
“Nobody plays harder, gives more, wants to win more. He comes at you hard for 27 outs. It’s a special thing to see,” writes Rivera in “The Closer.”
Pedroia is “at the top of the list” of players Rivera admires in the game.
“If I have to win one game, I’d have a hard time taking anybody over Dustin Pedroia as my second baseman,” Rivera wrote.
Rivera’s book, written with Wayne Coffey, will be released Tuesday. Rivera was unsparing in his thoughts on Cano, his longtime teammate who now plays for Seattle.
“This guy has so much talent I don’t know where to start,” Rivera writes. “There is no doubt that he is a Hall-of-Fame caliber [player]. It’s just a question of whether he finds the drive you need to get there. I don’t think Robby burns to be the best. You don’t see that red-hot passion in him that you see in most elite players.”
Rare Reds sighting
The Sox will host the Reds for a two-game set before heading out for a seven-game road trip. It will be just the second time since the famous 1975 World Series that the Reds have made the trip to Fenway. The Sox swept a three-game set in 2005 . . . Getting the start in the cleanup spot Sunday, Mike Carp went 2 for 4. It was the second time that he’s hit cleanup this season. Carp has a hit in six of his eight starts, hitting .296.