Sunday, November 19, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Royals pitcher suspects Jays stole signs

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TORONTO — Royals RHP Edinson Volquez said teammate Johnny Cueto believes the Blue Jays were stealing signs in their Game 3 victory Monday night in the American League Championship Series.

Volquez, Kansas City's Game 5 starter, said Cueto thought the Blue Jays were having signs relayed to them from centerfield during an 11-8 win. Cueto was chased with no outs in the third inning after allowing eight runs and six hits.

"I think he said (Monday), they got a guy in centerfield. You see how hard it is. He looks to centerfield and he sees somebody do this or do that. It's really hard to do that," Volquez said Tuesday.

Volquez and many others weren't all that convinced. "That's your fault," Volquez said. "You've got to hide the ball and have better communication with the catcher giving you signs when you're pitching. So it's nothing wrong with it. We just have to hide the ball and give multiple signs to hide it from them."

Royals manager Ned Yost wasn't putting too much into the accusation, saying it never came up during the game.

"We always watch for that whoever we're playing," Yost said. "We use multiple signs, set up late. It's not really an issue for us. We always make sure we are changing signs because clubs will look to relay location. But we haven't seen any sign of it here."

Commissioner Rob Manfred was more amused than concerned.

"Stealing signs is something that is often claimed, rarely proven in baseball," he said.

THAT'S HOW BAD IT GOT: Blue Jays INF Cliff Pennington became the first true position player to pitch in a playoff game when manager John Gibbons summoned him with two outs in the ninth inning of Tuesday's Game 4.

Toronto trailed 12-2 to the Royals when Pennington entered with two runners on. He allowed two hits and threw seven pitches, retiring Ben Zobrist on a foul pop to end the inning. He showed surprisingly good stuff with a fastball that averaged 90.7 mph, a tick faster than both Game 4 starters.

Pennington said C Russ Martin asked him what he had when he entered: "He goes, 'Fastball, curveball, cutter, changeup.' I was like, what?"

ROOF CLOSED: It was 59 degrees and cloudy in Toronto when Game 4 of the ALCS began, but the roof was closed anyway. It was also closed Monday even though it was 57 degrees at first pitch, 12 degrees warmer than it was for Game 2 at Citi Field in New York for the Mets-Cubs NLCS game Sunday.

"I was in New York on Saturday night, and 12 degrees was not enough," Manfred said.

Major League baseball determines if the roof will be open or closed for postseason games. Manfred said it was raining earlier on his way to the ballpark.

INSURANCE ON HARVEY: Agent Scott Boras secured an insurance policy for Mets RHP Matt Harvey if the pitcher suffers any injury that results in a loss of value for his next contract, or in the case of a career-ending injury, several news organizations reported. How much Harvey is insured for is unknown. Boras negotiated the policy toward the end of the regular season as tensions rose with the Mets over how many innings Harvey, who had Tommy John surgery in October 2013, would pitch.

FEELING BETTER: Meanwhile, Mets manager Terry Collins said Harvey was feeling a lot better, and it looks as if the ace right-hander will be ready for Game 5 of the NL Championship Series if necessary. Harvey threw in the outfield at Wrigley Field on Monday and was expected to throw a side session before Game 3. He was struck near his pitching shoulder by a comebacker in the series opener Saturday night, leading to some swelling and discomfort.

AROUND THE MAJORS: Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka had arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow. … The Rockies will bring back their coaching staff after they finished last in the NL West.

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