NEW YORK — For more than a century, baseball seemed to know when a catch was a catch. Then expanded instant replay came along this season, and no one seemed to be sure.

The sport’s Playing Rules Committee clarified the meaning of when a fielder catches the ball before trying to transfer it from his glove to his hand for a throw, trying to defuse a controversy that left managers and players puzzled in the season’s opening weeks.

With umpires watching slow-motion replays in a New York control room, several plays that routinely have been called outs in the past had been ruled drops. Starting Friday, possession was defined as having complete control of the ball. The committee said fielders may drop the ball after intentionally opening their gloves to make transfers.


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• Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis left the game against Kansas City with a strained left oblique. Davis said afterward he didn’t know how long he will be out.

Ernesto Frieri has lost his job as Los Angeles Angels closer. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said setup man Joe Smith will step into the stopper role until Frieri works out his problems.

• The Chicago White Sox claimed right-hander reliever Hector Noesi, a former Mariner, off waivers from the Texas Rangers.

• The Rangers activated third baseman Adrian Beltre from the 15-day disabled list and shut down third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff with a sore back.

• Pittsburgh Pirates closer Jason Grilli was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique. Setup reliever Mark Melancon is expected to move into Grilli’s spot and close.

• The San Diego Padres put third baseman Chase Headley (calf) on the 15-day disabled list.