Too soon to judge MLB replay

PITTSBURGH – After further review, it’s still too soon to make a definitive judgment on replay in baseball.

It’s trending in the right direction, though.

The idea is solid and basic. Get the call right. The technology allows for that in most cases. It’s pointless to have everyone in the stadium know the original call was wrong, then have no ability to correct it.

So the managers can request a review, and the umpires step behind the plate to put on headsets connected the video room in New York. Umpires there look at the play, give their verdict and the umpires on the field make a signal.

There’s no arguing since the game umpires only relay the call made in New York. It would be pointless to yell at the on-scene umpires for a call made by another crew.

In the first week of play, the Pittsburgh Pirates have won and lost on replay. That’s OK. The idea, after all, is to get the play right.

This system would have prevented that horribly wrong home plate call that Jerry Meals made in Atlanta a couple of seasons ago.

The problem with replay is how long some of the reviews have taken. Some replay calls have affected the pace of the game. A pitcher stands on the mound waiting, and that isn’t good.

But that should be less of a problem with experience. The umpires doing the review will learn to streamline the process as they get more practice.

For the moment – and it’s only been a week – give replay a conditional thumbs-up. In another month or so, the system should be humming along like a machine, which will make the game better.

The reviews may be embarrassing to some of the umpires. But were things better when they’d see the bad call on ESPN after the game, with no ability to correct the mistake?

Taillon out

There was a bad feeling as soon as Jameson Taillon said he was having pain in his elbow.

The words “Tommy John” start flashing like a neon sign.

A pitcher with an injured elbow doesn’t always need the ligament replacement surgery named for John, but that’s often the resolution.

So it is for Taillon, the hard-throwing former No. 1 draft pick, who will lose 12 to 18 months of his development time to the surgery.

Essentially, he’ll wind up losing about two seasons. He’s definitely done for 2014. The minimum recovery period is 12 months, which would put him back on the mound at this time in 2015.

But it’s highly unlikely he’ll be ready for the major leagues at that point. He’s only pitched in six games above the Class AA level.

When he returns, he’ll be subject to pitch limits and a lot of careful attention. The minor leagues are the best spot for that kind of program.

He’ll need time to get back on a regular schedule and master all his pitches again. That will probably take a few months at Class AAA. He’ll undoubtedly be on a pitch limit, so his season will probably end early.

That means it’s entirely possible Taillon won’t pitch for the Pirates until 2016.

It’s one of the hazards of the game, and the Pirates actually have had a smaller percentage of Tommy John cases than most teams.

Mehno can be reached at