Mariners' Rojas says he picked up pitch tipping of Yankees' Schmidt ahead of Moore home run

Wed, May 22, 2024
MLB News (AP)

Mariners' Rojas says he picked up pitch tipping of Yankees' Schmidt ahead of Moore home run

NEW YORK (AP) - With a little nod of his neck as he took his lead off second base, Josh Rojas seemed to signal Mariners teammate Dylan Moore a cutter was coming from Yankees pitcher Clarke Schmidt.

Moore drove the 93.1 mph pitch 386 feet into the left-field seats for a 2-0 lead, starting Seattle to a 6-3 win over New York on Tuesday night.

"Everybody's always trying to look for something," Rojas said Wednesday. "We're out there trying to find anything we can to gain an advantage."

MLB Network showed a frame-by-frame comparison of Schmidt in the set position with Moore at the plate in the third inning. Rojas could see none of the ball before a sinker, a little of the ball ahead of a sweeper and a significant portion before a cutter.

Moore had fouled off Schmidt's first full-count pitch, a sweeper, before the 28-year-old right-hander came back with a cutter.

"You can see in the video he was clearly tipping," Rojas said.

Schmidt said after the game the Yankees were aware of the tipping and quickly worked to ensure it wouldn't happen again.

"Obviously tipping is a part of this game and it's a factor and it's always in the back of our heads and something that we're well aware of," Schmidt said. "They got two runs on it. But I was able to make adjustments after we saw the video and just part of the game. Another factor in it."

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Schmidt said tipping had been an issue with him in the past.

"It's just something that we're constantly with all our guys paying attention to and working on," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

Mariners manager Scott Servais, a big league catcher from 1991-2001, said technology had forced teams to become more alert to tipping.

"You didn't have all the cameras and all the people working in front offices. It was actually a learned skill," Servais said. "The days that you weren't playing, you're just locked in on that pitcher. Where does he comes set? When does his hand go into his glove? Where's his eyes? Does he bite his lip when he throws his slider? There's all kinds of stuff that happens, and in our day, you would just sit and stare at the guy until you try to figure it out for yourself."

Asked who was the best at picking up tips, Servais brought up his own experience.

"Veteran players that didn't play much - like myself - knew what to look for," he said. "I always thought catchers had a good sense for it because they all knew that pitchers all did something a little bit different."

Rojas said figuring out pitch tips "is a pretty common thing."

"Even if you have something, it's still pretty hard to get a hit," he said.

Major League Baseball's approval of the PitchCom Pitcher Catcher Communication Device in 2022 has largely eliminated catcher's signaling pitchers - and the ability of runners at second to pick up those signs. That causes runners to focus on the pitchers.

"Now it's strictly a game of, trying to find little things like that that will give you a tell," Rojas said.

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