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Major League Baseball amends controversial transfer rule

Dustin Pedroia loses the ball while trying to turn a double play Thursday; because of the transfer rule, Pedroia was not credited with the force out at second.
Dustin Pedroia loses the ball while trying to turn a double play Thursday; because of the transfer rule, Pedroia was not credited with the force out at second.JARED WICKERHAM/Getty Images

TORONTO — A catch is a catch again and Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia was happy to hear it.

Major League Baseball clarified the controversial transfer rule, announcing on Friday that if a fielder has “complete control” of the ball, it’s a legal catch even if the ball is dropped while making the switch to his hand.

The umpires will use their judgment as to whether the ball was controlled. The expansion of instant replay this season had led to dropped transfers negating the catch.

It happened to Pedroia in the second inning of Thursday’s game against the Yankees.

“It was tough because they called it one way before and then it changed,” Pedroia said Friday. “I’m glad they went back.”


Pedroia’s concern was that middle infielders trying to turn a double play would have to wait an extra second and get taken out at a greater rate.

“I had caught that ball [Thursday] and Brett Gardner is right on me. It’s either protect yourself and get out of the way or you get hurt,” he said. “I didn’t understand the call. I had the ball in my hand and he was out. I was going to throw it and that’s when it came out.”

Managers were unanimous the rule had to fixed.

“I think more than anything we have some clarity,” John Farrell said. “We’re back to the way, I think, we’ve all seen the game unfold, plays that have been made. A catch is a catch. It’s back to the glove closes around the ball and it’s considered an out . . . The clarity is a good thing.”

Holt sent back to Pawtucket

Brock Holt, who had started the previous seven games at third base, was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket with the return of Will Middlebrooks. He was 8 of 23 with four RBIs but the Red Sox elected to keep the more defensively versatile Jonathan Herrera on their bench.


Holt will get steady work at shortstop in Triple A. Improvement there could lead to his return.

Doubront staying put

Felix Doubront is 1-3 with a 6.00 earned run average and 1.708 WHIP after four starts. On Thursday, the lefthander lasted only 2⅔ innings against the Yankees, giving up seven runs on six hits. That only three of the runs were earned didn’t change how poorly Doubront pitched.

But he will stay in the rotation.

“There’s no anticipated changes at this point, no,” Farrell said.

The Red Sox have lefthander Chris Capuano in their bullpen and righthander Brandon Workman in Pawtucket.

“When the time calls for it, we’re fortunate that we do have guys that we can go to that have major league experience, even as a starters. But that’s not imminent in this next turn through the rotation,” Farrell said.

Doubront admitted after the game that he lost his concentration. On several occasions, he ignored the responsibility of holding runners on base, allowing the Yankees to steal three bases easily.

“There’s a mental routine as much as a physical one and continuing to remain consistent with that,” Farrell said. “Those are points we go back and we review and talk about the situations that unfolded [and] what we can do differently to address it if it does come up.”

After taking two days off, which was his right to do, Daniel Nava reported to Pawtucket and was in the lineup on Friday, going 1 for 2 with a pair of walks. Nava was optioned after Tuesday’s game.


Righthander Matt Barnes, a former first-round pick, made his season debut for the PawSox. He allowed two runs, one earned, on six hits over five innings against Rochester with two strikeouts and two walks. Barnes strained his shoulder in spring training.

Ring for Diaz

Blue Jays infielder Jonathan Diaz, who played five games for the Red Sox last season, will get his World Series ring before the game on Saturday.

Farrell and assistant general manager Mike Hazen will make the presentation.

Diaz, 29, was a minor leaguer with Toronto for seven seasons before signing with the Red Sox.

To the rescue

Righthanded reliever Burke Badenhop worked 8⅓ innings and threw 110 pitches over a span of three games and six days, picking up for faltering starters. “It’s been a godsend.” Farrell said. “We’re pushing him as far as the number of pitches thrown. He’s given a big lift to that bullpen group.” . . . The three Red Sox outfielders on the All-Star ballot are Nava, Grady Sizemore, and Shane Victorino. Nava is in the minors and Sizemore is a platoon left fielder . . . Capuano, who struck out the side in the eighth inning, extended his season streak to 14 scoreless innings in 10 appearances. The lefthanded has not allowed a run in 20⅔ innings dating to Aug. 31 . . . Mike Napoli has reached safely in 20 consecutive games . . . The 2013 World Series trophy will be on hand Saturday morning for the opening day of the Savin Hill Little League in Dorchester. Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Sox president Larry Lucchino will attend at the ceremony at McConnell Park at 11:30 a.m. . . . The trophy also will be at Medford City Hall from 9-10 a.m. on Saturday and at John Brewers Tavern in Malden from 3-7 p.m. as part of a fund-raising effort by the Medford High softball team for the Krystle Campbell Scholarship Fund. Donations will be collected to take photos with the trophy.


Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.