Gibbons, Blue Jays will get replay-system practice

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays will get their first taste of Major League Baseball's new instant-replay initiative during the upcoming Grapefruit League season.

The instant-replay program was announced during the offseason, and Spring Training will provide everyone with a trial run before the regular season gets underway in late March.

Fans shouldn't read too much into manager John Gibbons coming out to appeal calls in spring games, though, because it's something the league is actually encouraging teams to do.

"They want to see that happen," Gibbons said. "We had that meeting last week, and they said the umpires will notify us before the game and say, 'Hey if you get a chance, try it.'

"They want to see it, and they want the umpires to practice everything, like they did out in the Arizona Fall League. They did some out there."

Gibbons wasn't sure exactly which games this spring will include instant replay, but every team is expected to have a chance to try it out at least five times. Once the regular season starts, the Blue Jays will have a war-room of sorts set up to monitor all of the available camera angles, but during the spring, Gibbons will rely on his gut instincts.

Managers will have one challenge per game, and if the club is successful, it will receive a second challenge. After the sixth inning, umpires also have the ability to ask for an instant replay on their own if a team has already used its challenge.

When a play is challenged, the umpires will have a designated area behind home plate where they will be connected to the league's replay headquarters in New York. An umpire in New York will then inform the umpire whether or not the call should be reversed.

"MLB wants to get it right, especially the first go-around," Gibbons said. "They've done studies on it, and they've practiced it quite a bit, and whoever is upstairs watching it, they'll be able to know pretty quick."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.