Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

Balk Full O' Nuts

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To err is human, but to balk for two straight nights is almost unheard of. Especially the way Ted Lilly got charged with one in the seventh inning Wednesday night.

After a leadoff walk to Michael Barrett in a one-run game, Lilly threw to first baseman Derrek Lee, who was cheating in off the bag, anticipating a bunt from pitcher Greg Maddux.

Balk!

Lee said the umpire told him there has to be a possible play at the bag for the throw over to be legal. Lilly said he’s done that a lot in his career but that’s the first time he’s been called on the rule.

``That’s the first time I’ve ever seen that play called,’’ said manager Lou Piniella, who went to first base umpire Brian Knight for the explanation. ``He said there’s no play on the runner. That’s the ruling. I wasn’t aware of the rule.

``But these umpires can conjure some up sometimes,’’ he added, laughing. ``And I’ve got to believe them because they know the rule book a heck of a lot better than I.’’

The play didn’t cost the Cubs, as Lilly pitched out of the jam.

But Piniella said he’ll address the situation Thursday in Los Angeles. ``We’re going to have to come up with a signal to the first baseman when he’s going over there, so he knows,’’ Piniella said.

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on June 5, 2008 12:35 AM.

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