PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Manager Mike Matheny made his second "challenge" of the spring on Friday, though it was not exactly a true trial run through the new instant replay system.
While Friday's game against the Mets was chosen as a test day for instant replay, the Cardinals did not have all the personnel in place to actually simulate things as they will during the regular season. Both the video coordinator, who will be reviewing plays, and bench coach Mike Aldrete, who will be signaling to Matheny whether a challenge is worthwhile, were back in Jupiter, Fla., for the other split-squad game.
With only his eyes to trust, Matheny chose to challenge an eighth-inning call in which Mike O'Neill was called out trying to steal second. O'Neill reached the base before the throw, but as video replay later confirmed, as his leg went beyond the base, his hand was blocked from touching the bag by one of Wilmer Flores' cleats.
"I didn't have any video. I didn't have any help. I'm just [feeling] that it didn't look right to me; it still doesn't look right to me," Matheny said. "You don't see blocking second base happen very often."
It took the umpire in a nearby truck longer to review this play than it did the one Matheny challenged earlier this week, though it was still only estimated at about a 70-second delay. The Cardinals have yet to have an opponent challenge a play this spring.
"I'd like to work with the process -- which we're not going to be able to do -- when we have just as much technology as they have," Matheny said. "But you know what, I thought that was a good opportunity. He was obviously there before the ball was, and whether he could get a hand in, it takes a very good eye that is better than mine from 130 feet away. I think it also took a little longer [to sort out], because it was a pretty close call."
Christina De Nicola is a contributor to MLB.com. Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.