KEY BISCAYNE - Brian Cashman wanted to make this perfectly clear: The umpires were correct when they called Alex Rodriguez out for interference on that crazy play during the AL Championship Series.
"They got it completely right, 100 percent," the Yankees general manager said.
"But you would hate to have a game, or a series, or even a season come down to a play where they miss it and instant replay could have helped," he said. "So as far as instant replay, I'm in favor of it."
Now, after a pennant race and postseason dotted with reversed rulings, baseball will get another chance to see who else wants to give replay a look.
The topic is on today's agenda at the GM meetings. And there seems to be growing support to join the NFL, NBA and NHL in using replay on calls such as fair or foul and homer or not, but definitely not on balls and strikes.
"I think its time has come," Brewers assistant Gord Ash said. "The technology has improved and is there. I think there's a place for it."
Even if replay comes up for a formal vote - it did not go very far last year when GMs debated it - there's no assurance it would show up during games any time soon.
"I don't see it," Bob Watson, vice president of onfield operations, said Wednesday. "And I don't think the commissioner is in favor of it, either."
Earlier, GMs were briefed on plans to play a spring training game in March in Athens, probably involving Baltimore, and on efforts to hold a World Cup-style tournament in early 2006.
They also talked about letting teams trade first-round draft choices and were told to be vigilant in verifying the ages of players signed in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.
But with so many procedural issues to sift through this week, the prospect of adding instant replay is intriguing.
The Reds asked that replay be included on the agenda. Their executives have talked about it internally for a couple years, and they've heard from other clubs lately.
"I think there seems to be some level of understanding that getting the play right is what underscores this thought process," Reds GM Dan O'Brien said. "I don't think any of us have any idea of a timetable."
EXPOS MOVE: Washington Mayor Anthony A. Williams agreed to consider District City Council Chair Linda W. Cropp's plan for the city to court private financing for a proposed ballpark for the Expos.
"By all means we want to do that, and I certainly fully endorse it," Williams said, adding that any deal must accommodate the city's agreement with the Expos, which contains a Dec. 31 deadline for financing to become law.
Cropp postponed Tuesday's scheduled vote on the mayor's ballpark plan for two weeks.
"Let's just see what happens," she said, adding she had a "responsibility to do everything we can to reduce the cost" of the $435-million project.
Cropp claims one financier has approached her offering $350-million, but she declined to identify the investor or detail that proposal.
Approval requires a majority vote of the 13-member council.
STOTTLEMYRE STAYS: Mel Stottlemyre said he will return as Yankees pitching coach next season, then retire after the 2005 season. Stottlemyre has been pitching coach since manager Joe Torre was hired before the 1996 season.
Also, Joe Girardi will replace Willie Randolph as bench coach. Girardi, who caught for the Yankees from 1996-99, retired when he was cut by New York at the end of spring training and was a broadcaster for the YES network last season.
JAPAN TOUR: Pitching on just a few hours' sleep after learning he'd won the NL Cy Young Award at age 42, Roger Clemens held the Japanese All-Stars to three runs on eight hits over 52/3 innings in Osaka. Backed by the two-hit pitching of Hisashi Iwakuma, the Japanese squad won 3-1 for their first win in the fifth game of the exhibition tour.
DODGERS: Former pitcher Roy Smith was named vice president of scouting and player development. As expected, minor-league field coordinator Terry Collins was promoted to director of player development. Also, Dan Feinstein, formerly an assistant in the A's scouting department, joined the team as coordinator of baseball operations.
RED SOX: Boston claimed left-hander Billy Traber off waivers from the Indians. ... Former pitcher Bruce Hurst was inducted into the team Hall of Fame.