Ausmus: Strict enforcement of 30-second clock 'uncalled for'

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus argues with first base umpire Fieldin Culbreth against the Chicago White Sox in the first inning. Ausmus was ejected.

Detroit – A day later and much calmer, Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus addressed his first-inning ejection from the game Saturday afternoon.

Ausmus was both surprised and incensed that home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez refused his request for a video challenge on a close play at first base because he exceeded the 30-second time limit.

“Generally speaking, umpires give you in the range of 35-40 seconds,” said Ausmus, who did not address the media after the game. “By 30 seconds, they walk over to the dugout and give you an opportunity to make a decision.

“That wasn’t the case this time. And it was the first time it wasn’t the case.”

Ausmus said he’s seen scenarios where managers were given 40-45 seconds to decide.

“To cut it off arbitrarily that quickly was uncalled for,” he said.

Major League Baseball implemented a 30-second clock on managers to decide if they want a video review and a two-minute clock on the video room in New York to reach a verdict. Neither, Ausmus said, was intended to be a hard-and-fast deadline.

“How many times have you seen when the 30-second clock goes to zero, the umpire will come over and say, ‘We need an answer’?” Ausmus said. “The 30-second clock, I don’t think it was designed to force managers to make a decision in exactly 30 seconds. It’s designed to speed up the instant-replay process.

Zimmermann gets a grip on his slider, subdues Sox

“Just like the two minutes on the umpire’s side in New York isn’t a hard cap. It’s designed to speed up the process of reviewing plays. Generally, if you have an answer in 35 to 40 seconds, there are no questions asked and you move on. Yesterday was exceptionally quick for me.”

Ausmus expects he will have to explain himself to the league office at some point, but he doesn’t feel his actions warrant any type of suspension, even if he inadvertently spit on crew chief Fieldin Culbreth.

“It was spit that came out and I felt bad about that,” Ausmus said. “I didn’t mean to spit on Fieldin at all. Which is why I wiped it off.”

Cabrera's disagreement

Things got chippy again Sunday in the fourth inning, and again, Culbreth, who ejected Ausmus on Saturday, was at the center of it.

He called Miguel Cabrera out on a borderline pitch to lead off the inning. Cabrera hollered his displeasure all the way back to the dugout and continued his discourse throughout the inning.

“I didn’t want Miggy to get tossed, though it did cross my mind,” Ausmus said. “That pitch to Miggy was down, but I don’t think the strike zone was an issue at all. I just thought that pitch was down.”

The Tigers’ dugout was fired up after that, especially when the next hitter, J.D. Martinez, smashed his 10th home run of the season.

Justin Upton then walked, getting a favorable call on a similar pitch that Culbreth called Cabrera out on. Cabrera let him know and Culbreth took exception and began yelling at the Tigers' dugout.

“I thought we had energy from the get-go,” Upton said. “We were in battle-mode, trying to win a series.”

As so often happens, Cabrera drew a walk in the fifth, getting a favorable call on a close pitch.

Around the horn

Outfielder Tyler Collins cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Toledo.

...Anibal Sanchez’s hamstring strain was described as “very, very mild,” and the club is hopeful he will be able to make his next start at Toledo.

“He took a line drive in the same area in his previous start and they think it was related to that,” Ausmus said. “He’s day to day and hopefully he doesn’t miss his next start.”

… Designated hitter Victor Martinez was given the day off Sunday. The White Sox started left-hander David Holmberg, and Martinez has been having some pain in his left elbow when he bats right-handed.

“Yeah, that and this way I can give him two days off,” said Ausmus, referencing the Tigers’ off-day Monday. “It’s a combination of those two things.”

… J.D. Martinez served as the DH Sunday, which will give him two days off his feet in terms of playing the outfield.

Twitter @cmccosky