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Matheny 'surprised' he hasn't used challenge

Matheny 'surprised' he hasn't used challenge play video for Matheny 'surprised' he hasn't used challenge

MILWAUKEE -- Fourteen games into the season, manager Mike Matheny admitted to being "extremely surprised" that he has yet to deploy a challenge in this new era of expanded instant replay across Major League Baseball.

Entering Wednesday, 66 manager challenges had been called through the first two-plus weeks of the season. Only Matheny and Orioles manager Buck Showalter have yet to use their first.

Just because Matheny has not asked for video review, though, does not mean the Cardinals have not actively been going through the exercise of reviewing close plays. It happened again during Tuesday's 6-1 win over the Brewers, when Allen Craig was picked off at second base to end the third inning.

Knowing he had to begin toward the umpire within 10 seconds to keep the Brewers from leaving the field, Matheny slowly walked to second-base umpire Jeff Kellogg while his video coordinator reviewed the play inside the clubhouse. Once it was determined that the evidence was likely not conclusive enough to overturn the call, a signal was relayed to Matheny to keep the challenge in his pocket.

"If it was blatant and it was clear and convincing, I would have used it up," Matheny said. "I was going out and giving ourselves a little bit of time without completely trying to stall the whole game. I'm conscious of that. I appreciate the pace of game. More importantly is the pace of our team. I hate slowing the rhythm of the game down for our players.

"I'm not going to do it just to do it, but if there is a chance we think something is missed, we're going to go out there. But fortunately, things have worked well with the communication in the dugout. We got the information to turn around and leave."

Matheny continues to monitor the use of replay elsewhere and said that has helped he and his staff "get a better feel for things that we can and can't" challenge with a high success rate.

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.

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