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Nats happy with ball-transfer rule clarification

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WASHINGTON -- Major League Baseball announced on Friday that the ball-transfer rule will be enforced, which means if a player catches the ball and drops it while trying to throw to another base, it is still considered a catch.

Before Friday, a defender had to secure the ball all the way until act of throwing.

Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa is happy the rule has been clarified. In the fourth inning of an 8-0 loss to the Cardinals on April 17, Adam Wainwright hit a ground ball to shortstop Ian Desmond, who threw to Espinosa for the force at second. It looked like Espinosa caught the ball, but he dropped it as he was throwing to first base. The umpire ruled that Espinosa did not make the out at second. Jhonny Peralta scored on the play and Espinosa was charged with an error.

"I would like it if they took that error away, but they can't do it," Espinosa said. "I'm happy that it's gone, though."

With a runner on second base in the top of the ninth inning Wednesday, Angels outfielder Raul Ibanez hit a line drive to first baseman Adam LaRoche, who caught the ball but he dropped it as he was trying to double off David Freese at second base. The umpire ruled that LaRoche dropped the ball, and he was charged with an error.

"It's about time," LaRoche said of the rule interpretation. "I think they found out very quickly that it was going to cause a lot more problems than anything else. It's good to know."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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