Both managers lose replay challenges in Reds’ spring training loss

GLENDALE, Ariz. — It’s spring training for MLB’s newly expanded replay system, so why shouldn’t managers get some work in trying it out?

Bryan Price of the Reds and Robin Ventura of the White Sox both used challenges in the top of the fifth inning during Wednesday’s game at Camelback Ranch. Both times the original umpire rulings were upheld.

Ventura challenged a safe call at second base on a play in which Chicago second baseman Leury Garcia dropped the ball while transferring it from his glove to his hand attempting to turn a double play. Kristopher Negron stayed at second and eventually scored on a single by Chris Nelson. Jason Bourgeois, who was safe at first on the Garcia error, was thrown out trying to reach third base on Nelson’s single.

The throw from center fielder Adam Eaton beat Bourgeois to the bag but Price thought Bourgeois might have beaten the tag of third baseman Marcus Semien. He didn’t.

"There’s a newness to it, no doubt about it," said Price. "I had to run out there and stop the game before another play took place. In that situation because I talked to Jason and he felt it was a close play, he wasn’t sure if he was out or safe but he felt like it was a bang-bang so that’s one of those where it might be the only close one we have the entire game so we thought we’d review it."

Price is now 1-for-3 on his challenge attempts this spring, although further review of a challenge against the Angels on March 8 that upheld a safe ruling on a Los Angeles runner at second base showed Price was correct.

There are limited games on TV during the spring and limited camera angles during those games compared to what will be available in the regular season. In the regular season teams will have replay assistants letting managers know whether or not to challenge but that’s not the case in spring training.

Managers are allotted one challenge per game but will receive a second one if their first challenge is successful. Umpires cannot ask for a replay review on their own until the games reach the seventh inning.

SOTO CATCHING: Neftali Soto got into Wednesday’s game as a catcher. He entered in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter for Brayan Pena and singled. He stayed in the game to catch for relief pitcher Nick Christiani.

Soto is a first baseman by trade but has also played at third base this spring and has some catching in his background. He started 10 games at the position at Single-A Lynchburg in 2010. This is all a matter of giving Soto a better shot at earning playing time with the big league team.

"I thought he was great," said Price. "His heart might have been beating a mile-a-minute, I’m not sure, but he seemed very under control. He didn’t look like he hadn’t been back there in awhile. He’s worked hard with Mike Stefanski all spring training so I wasn’t surprised by it but it was good to see."

FRANCIS TO BATS: Cincinnati Enquirer reporter C. Trent Rosecrans has reported that left-handed pitcher Jeff Francis has accepted an assignment with Triple-A Louisville to begin the season. Francis was a non-roster invitee to camp. He started six games, going 0-3 with a 6.35 ERA in 17 innings. He gave up five runs on six hits in four innings Tuesday’s 8-4 loss against Oakland.

Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports

March to Opening Day

Don’t miss Reds Live Spring Training on FOX Sports Ohio

UP NEXT: The last day of spring training games in Arizona. The Reds will have a split squad; they will play an Arizona split squad at Goodyear in a game featuring most of what should be the regular season lineup in one game, while reserves and those still battling for the final roster spots will go on the road to play Milwaukee in Maryvale. Both games will start an hour earlier than usual at 3:05 p.m. EST.

Tony Cingrani will start for the Reds against the Diamondbacks, who have returned to the country after playing the Los Angeles Dodgers in a two-game series in Sydney, Australia, that officially started the MLB regular season. Jay Bruce and the catcher combination of Devin Mesoraco and Brayan Pena are the only regulars who won’t be playing in the game. Chris Heisey will start in right field in place of Bruce, while Tucker Barnhart will start at catcher.

Reliever J.J. Hoover will start against Milwaukee.

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