Blue Jays bring Aaron Judge, coaching suspicions to MLB, but Yankees not expecting investigation
TORONTO — A night after Aaron Judge’s wandering eyes drew suspicions from Blue Jays broadcasters and manager John Schneider, Major League Baseball is aware of Toronto’s concerns.
Schneider said Toronto talked to the league about Yankees coaches being out of place — such as first base coach Travis Chapman being well outside the box to the side of first base so that he could relay pitches — in Monday’s series opener. This happened after broadcasters Dan Shulman and Buck Martinez noticed Judge looking away from the mound before clobbering a 462-foot home run in the Yankees’ Monday win.
Judge and Aaron Boone claimed that the slugger looked toward the Yankees’ dugout because peers were still “chirping” at home plate umpire Clint Vondrak after Boone was ejected, which annoyed Judge as he tried to focus on his at-bat.
“I’m kind of looking like, ‘Who’s still talking?’ It’s 6-0,” Judge said Monday when asked about his eyes. “Our manager got tossed. He did his job. Like, let’s go back to playing ball.”
But viewers and social media users wondered if the Yankees had picked up on the Blue Jays tipping their pitches — which is legal when done via natural means — or if the Bombers were cheating in some sort of way.
“What’s fair is fair,” Schneider said Tuesday. “And if our guys are giving stuff away, we have to be better at that. If things are being picked up from people that aren’t in places they should be, that’s where I think the line should be drawn.
“Every team has their guard up on that. It’s easy to look at a runner at second when you’re hitting, tough to look into the dugout. Probably a little bit easier to look at a coach. I think that there’s boxes on the field for a reason. When it’s a glaring 30 feet where you’re not in that spot, you kind of put two and two together a little bit.”
Boone wasn’t aware of the Blue Jays’ concerns over the positioning of coaches when he spoke to reporters Tuesday, but MLB planned to discuss that with the Yankees prior to first pitch. However, the league believes that no major league rule violations were committed, and Boone didn’t anticipate an investigation.
“I think most of the people in the know know that there’s nothing there,” the skipper said. “I’m sure that will be the prevailing wisdom as it unfolds.
“We’ve been in contact with Major League Baseball. Our understanding is there’s not going to be any kind of investigation because nothing that went on last night was against the rules. So that’s our understanding as far as the league goes.”
Schneider acknowledged that pitch tipping “has always been a part of the game and will continue to be,” and he added that the Blue Jays will pay extra attention to making sure they’re “clean” in that regard moving forward.
But while Schneider didn’t notice any wayward gazes from other Yankees on Monday, the manager didn’t seem to put much stock in Judge’s explanation for as to why he looked off to the side.
“I’m not in the business of buying postgame media,” Schneider said. “It’s, again, a really accomplished hitter who won the MVP last year. And I know that he means nothing but business and wants to win. I just found it a little funny that he was worried about his dugout while he was in the batter’s box.”
On Tuesday, Judge initially referred reporters to his Monday comments, adding, “I don’t see why it’s a story, to be honest.” But when asked if Shulman and Martinez were reckless with their observations, Judge said, “I’ve got some choice words about that,” though he didn’t expand on the thought.
“You don’t wanna go throwing allegations around without knowing, but,” Shulman said on the broadcast, not finishing his sentence.
Judge also said that he was frustrated over insinuations that he did anything wrong, especially after the Astros’ 2017 cheating scandal cast a dark cloud over that team’s core.
“Definitely,” Judge said when asked if his reputation being in question bothered him. “Especially with the things that have happened in this game with cheating, to get that thrown out, I’m not happy about it. People can say what they want. I still have a game to play, things I need to do. I told you guys what happened; everybody else can make their own story.”
With Luis Severino (lat) making his second rehab start on Tuesday night, Boone said the Yankees could decide his next step — aka a potential 2023 debut Sunday in Cincinnati — in the next 24 hours.
Severino was expected to throw 55-60 pitches on Tuesday for Double-A Somerset.
SHOT OR NOT?
Boone also said that, as of Tuesday, it doesn’t look like Carlos Rodon (back) will need the second cortisone-like shot he had scheduled for this week. The lefty had a planned no-throw day on Tuesday.