Major League Baseball continued to ramp up preparations for expanded instant replay this season by announcing Thursday that Justin Klemm has been appointed as director of instant replay.
In addition, seven new full-time umpires have been hired. All video reviews will take place at MLB Advanced Media headquarters in New York, with umpires staffing the Replay Command Center. After viewing disputed plays, the replay official's decision will be final.
Klemm has been executive director of Minor League Baseball's Professional Baseball Umpire Corporation since 2008. He will be based in New York and report to MLB senior vice president of baseball operations Peter Woodfork. Klemm will be responsible for managing the umpires at the Replay Command Center, handling supervisor staffing at the facility and, along with the technology director at MLBAM, helping to coordinate the procedural configuration with all 30 teams.
"Major League Baseball is pleased to welcome Justin Klemm as director of replay," Woodfork said. "As we move forward with our new system, Justin's background and experiences on and off the field will be vital resources to not only our umpires, but many of us as at the Commissioner's Office and MLB Advanced Media."
Klemm joined PBUC in 2004 as a field evaluator/instructor and worked closely with MLB's umpiring department on a variety of issues, including mechanics, rule interpretations, Arizona Fall League assignments and new hires. In addition to being responsible for all personnel moves for 220 Minor League umpires, Klemm headed up a staff of six field evaluators and a medical coordinator. Prior to that, he spent nine seasons as an umpire in the Minor Leagues, including four years in the Triple-A International League.
As a call-up umpire, he worked numerous regular season games at the Major League level, and he was invited to work the Arizona Fall League on two occasions. In addition, Klemm spent two offseasons umpiring in China and Australia in an effort to develop officiating skills in those countries. A native of Cataumet, Mass., Klemm graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University with a bachelor of science in management.
Each of the new umpires has had Major League experience.
Jordan Baker, 32, has been a professional umpire since 2005. Last year, he worked in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. Baker worked his first game in the Majors on June 24, 2012, and he has been a part of 199 regular-season Major League games.
Lance Barrett, 29, becomes the youngest full-time MLB ump. He started his pro career in 2003, and last year he worked in the Pacific Coast League. Barrett debuted in the Majors on Oct. 1, 2010, and he has worked 237 big league games.
Cory Blaser, 32, has been an umpire in the Minor Leagues since the 2002 season. In '13, he worked in the Pacific Coast League. Blaser made his Major League debut on April 24, 2010, and he has worked 346 Major League games.
Mike Estabrook, 37, is the veteran among the new umps. He began his career in 1999. Last year, he was on the staff of the Triple-A International League. Estabrook's first Major League game was on May 7, 2006, and he has been assigned to 698 Major League games.
Mike Muchlinski, 36, began his umpiring career the same year as Estabrook and worked in the Pacific Coast League last season. He made his Major League debut on April 24, 2006, and he has worked 569 Major League games.
David Rackley, 32, worked last season in the International League and has been on the job as a pro since 2001. He had his first Major League game on Aug. 13, 2010, and he has been on the field for 165 Major League games overall.
D.J. Reyburn, 37, has umpired in the Minors since 2000, and he worked last year in the Pacific Coast League. He has worked 440 Major League games since his debut on June 10, 2008.
Also, veterans Bill Miller and Jeff Nelson have been promoted to crew chief. Miller, a graduate of UCLA, is a 15-year Major League umpire who has received 12 career postseason assignments, including the 2010 and '12 World Series. Nelson, also a 15-year official in the Majors, has worked 13 postseason events, including the '05 and '09 Fall Classics.
Expanded replay has increased the number of full-time Major League umpires from 68 to 74. The seventh vacancy stemmed from last October's passing of 21-year veteran Wally Bell.