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Notes: MLB instant replay makes spring debut

Standing at first base, Chris Rahl realized he was probably destined to become the answer to a trivia question.

‘‘It’s kind of funny. I was thinking, ‘Is this the first one?’ ’’ the Minnesota runner said Monday.

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Indeed it was, the first call to be reviewed under Major League Baseball’s expanded replay system.

MLB has expanded replay this year beyond potential home runs and boundary calls. This season, most every play except for balls and strikes is subject to a review, with calls coming from a replay booth in New York.

For this Blue Jays-Twins spring training game in Fort Myers, Fla., the replay booth was a satellite truck outside the ballpark. The umpires rotated between the field and booth, becoming familiar with the system.

In the sixth inning, Toronto manager John Gibbons used his challenge. He asked umpires for a review after Rahl was called safe when shortstop Munenori Kawasaki’s throw pulled Jared Goedert off the first base bag.

First base umpire Fieldin Culbreth said Gibbons told him: ‘‘I’m not too sure that you’re not right here, but since we haven’t done it before, let’s go take a look.’’

Culbreth responded: ‘‘OK. That’s what it’s for.’’

The umpires gathered in front of the first base dugout while umpire Brian O’Nora watched the replays. After a wait of 2 minutes 34 seconds, Culbreth spread his hands in the safe sign.

In the eighth inning, Doug Bernier of the Twins was called safe at first. Culbreth studied the replay from the truck. The call was confirmed in about 2½ minutes, Bernier was safe.

MLB used the expanded replay system at three games on Monday, two of them in Arizona. There was one challenge in those games, and the umpire’s call was upheld. Each team will get at least five games in spring training to test the system.

Singleton gets help

Jon Singleton, among the top first base prospects in baseball, for the first time publicly opened up about his battle with an addiction to marijuana and monthlong stay at a rehabilitation center.

‘‘At this point it’s pretty evident to me that I’m a drug addict,’’ said Singleton, who’s being counted on to lead the Astros back after consecutive 100-loss seasons.

“I don’t openly tell everyone that, but it’s pretty apparent to myself. I know that I enjoy smoking weed, I enjoy being high and I can’t block that out of my mind that I enjoy that. So I have to work against that.’’

Singleton, 22, acquired by Houston from the Phillies in the 2011 trade for Hunter Pence, was suspended for the first 50 games of last season for a second failed drug test.

A short time later Singleton was admitted for a monthlong stay at an inpatient rehabilitation center.

Maybin out 2-3 months

Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin will be out 2-3 months after rupturing his left biceps tendon during a game against the Dodgers on Sunday. Maybin’s spot in the lineup likely will be taken by Will Venable . . . The Orioles are in serious talks with veteran free agent pitcher Johan Santana, according to CBSSports.com, and a minor league deal is expected to be reached . . . Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci will join Joe Buck in the announcers’ booth for Fox’s Major League Baseball coverage this season. Tim McCarver retired after the World Series as the network’s top color commentator . . . Jhonny Peralta homered twice against his former team, going deep in his only plate appearances in the Cardinals’ 8-5 loss to the Tigers. Peralta played for Detroit for 3½ seasons before signing with St. Louis as a free agent this offseason.

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