An umpire made an incorrect call on a disputed home run in a New York Yankees-Kansas City Royals game because he misunderstood the ground rules at Kauffman Stadium, MLB said Thursday.
Kansas City designated hitter Billy Butler was wrongly credited with a solo homer in the third inning Wednesday night, even though the shot was reviewed via instant replay, MLB executive vice-president Joe Torre said.
The ball hit the top of the left-field wall, a section of railing that is in play, and bounced back on to the field. Even after the review, crew chief Dana DeMuth ruled it was a homer. The Yanks lost, 5-4.
"(DeMuth) was very sure that that ball was a home run because it hit that back fence, which he thought was out of the park," Torre said.
Despite the obvious misunderstanding of the ground rules, Torre said the issue was moot and the final score stands. Yankees manager Joe Girardi didn't protest the game, which he must do prior to the next pitch after the incident, Torre said.
Girardi second-guessed himself for not doing so.
Ump best despite call
Umpire Jim Joyce has the respect of major leaguers, apparently, despite an awful call he made last year.
Joyce was voted the best umpire in baseball by 35% of the 237 MLB players who took part in a Sports Illustrated poll.
Joyce is the umpire who mistakenly called Jason Donald safe at first base, breaking up former Detroit Tiger Armando Galarraga's perfect game last June at Comerica Park.
Joyce got 35% of the vote. Rounding out the top five: Tim McClelland 18%, Jim Wolf 7%, Laz Diaz 6% and Joe West 5%.
Oddly, West also was voted the worst ump by 41% of the players.
Back pain for Youkilis
Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis is on his way to the disabled list.
Youkilis has discomfort in his lower back and will take a couple of weeks to rest. He has just four hits in his past 32 at-bats with one homer and two RBI.
Jed Lowrie and Mike Aviles are expected to share playing time at third base while Youkilis is sidelined.
The Red Sox have called up catcher Ryan Lavarnway, 24, who is batting .293 with 30 homers and 85 RBI at double-A Portland and triple-A Pawtucket this season.
With David Ortiz dealing with right heel bursitis, Lavarnway could get some at-bats at DH this weekend.
Francoeur gets deal
The Kansas City Royals have signed outfielder Jeff Francoeur to a two-year contract extension, reported to be worth $13.5 million.
In 120 games this season, Francoeur is hitting .277 with 15 homers and 66 RBI.
A first-round pick of the Atlanta Braves in 2002, Francoeur is a career .269 hitter with 116 home runs and 531 RBI, and a former Gold Glove winner.
Francoeur, 27, also has played for the New York Mets and Texas Rangers.
Alex Rodriguez has rejoined the New York Yankees but was not in the lineup Thursday night. He played the night before for triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to finish a rehabilitation assignment for his recovering right knee. Rodriguez had surgery July 11 to repair torn meniscus cartilage ... The Texas Rangers have acquired right-handed pitcher Tim Wood from the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named or cash considerations. Wood was 0-3 with a 5.63 ERA in 13 relief appearances for the Pirates this season ... Veteran pitcher Paul Maholm has struggled since the all-star break and the Pirates almost certainly won't exercise a $9.75-million club option for 2012. Maholm, 29, had a 2.96 ERA at the break, but he has gone 0-5 with a 5.75 ERA since. Maholm has made 179 starts the past five seasons, more than any other lefty in the NL ... Philadelphia Phillies centre fielder Shane Victorino had his three-game suspension reduced to two. Victorino was the only player suspended in a benches-clearing incident Aug. 5 against the San Francisco Giants.