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Expanded instant replay coming to Major League Baseball this season

Managers allowed one challenge per game, can earn more

A major expansion of instant replay is coming to Major League Baseball this season.

MLB announced Thursday that owners, players and umpires have all approved the new system.

Each manager will be allowed to challenge at one call per game. If he's right, he gets another challenge. After the 7th inning, a crew chief can request a review on his own if the manager has used up his challenges.

The "neighbourhood play'' at second base on double plays can't be challenged. Many raised safety concerns for middle infielders being wiped out by hard-charging runners if the phantom force was subject to review.

"I tell you the fans will love it," baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said after owners met and voted their unanimous approval. "It's another in a long list of changes that will make this sport better than it already is."

All reviews will be done by current MLB umpires at a replay centre in MLB.com's New York office. MLB has agreed to hire six new big league umpires and call up two minor league umps for the entire season. A seventh major league umpire will be added to replace the late Wally Bell.

To make baseball reviews uniform, cameras will transit 12 angles from each ballpark. MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred said it was uncertain whether the replay system will be in place in Australia for the season-opening series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers.

The new rule allows ballparks to show fans the same replays on stadium video screens. But only plays under review can be shown on the screen in slow motion.

Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, said work continues on a proposed ban on home-plate collisions between runners and the catcher. The rule hasn't been written and talks on its content are ongoing between the league and the players union, he said.

Baseball was the last major pro sport in North America to institute replay when it began late in the 2008 season. Even then, it was only used for close calls on home runs.

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