MLB’s tweak to lineup card process should prevent Jays’ Waguespack snafu


Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Jacob Waguespack. (Fred Thornhill/CP)

TORONTO – Major League Baseball is expected to add a version code to the pre-game lineup cards teams submit to umpiring crews, according to an industry source — a small tweak that should prevent the type of snafu the Toronto Blue Jays experienced in Atlanta.

Manager Charlie Montoyo said Friday that “there’s going to be a change, from what I hear,” but didn’t have specifics. The source said the coming adjustment isn’t a direct product of the Blue Jays’ experience on Thursday, but should help the entire process run more efficiently.

Adding a version code to the lineup card would allow teams to confirm that umpires have the correct iteration, something that didn’t happen Thursday against Atlanta.

Montoyo tried to bring Jacob Waguespack in to pitch the sixth inning, but home plate umpire Alan Porter noticed that he wasn’t listed. The confusion arose after Waguespack was optioned in the morning to help the Blue Jays get the roster down to 28, but was recalled hours later when Trent Thornton was placed on the injured list with elbow inflammation.

As a result, Waguespack wasn’t on the first lineup card the Blue Jays submitted to the umpires, but another was created around 6:15 p.m., roughly 45 minutes before first pitch, once the Thornton transaction uploaded into the MLB system.

In previous years that wouldn’t have been a big deal, since the clubs exchanged lineups at the plate before the game. But this year, in part because of COVID-19 protocols, the system was changed, with coaches responsible for sending lineup cards to a printer in the umpires’ room.

The Blue Jays, however, have had multiple issues submitting line up cards to the printers so far this year, at times using clubhouse attendants to run a printout down to the umpires.

Bench coach Dave Hudgens handles those duties for the Blue Jays and once the Thornton transaction settled, he printed off updated lineup cards. Montoyo and staff took the right version out to the field, but somehow the right version didn’t get to the umpires.

“What happened yesterday is that they had the 4 o’clock version and we had the 6 o’clock version,” said Montoyo. “With so much (roster) movement, and because it’s digital, I don’t get to see (the lineup card), so that’s a big change we’re going to have and that’s going to be good for everybody, at the end of the day.”

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