Orioles manager Buck Showalter’s dust up with New York Yankees skipper Joe Girardi on Monday night has sparked a spirited discussion about one of baseball’s unspoken practices.
The confrontation — which was initiated by Girardi yelling at Orioles third base coach Bobby Dickerson, supposedly accusing the Orioles of stealing signs — was being reviewed by the commissioner’s office on Tuesday, according to an industry source, but there was no determination of any possible disciplinary action.
Showalter said Tuesday that teams trying to steal signs is commonplace in baseball.
“Everybody sits there with multiple signs. We change signs,” Showalter said. “And you should do it, if you can get them. They’re right there for everybody to see if you can figure out the sequence.
“There’s a lot of clubs who have people who do nothing else but watch the sequences that every pitcher uses so you have to. It’s very easy to camouflage it to keep them from getting it. It’s part of the game. It’s part of it. That really falls under the Captain Obvious thing.”
Girardi wouldn’t discuss specifics of the incident before Tuesday’s game, but he also acknowledged that the practice of sign stealing has long been a part of the game.
“I think with players you have to protect everything,” Girardi said. “Catchers have to move away, they have to change their signs. Signs can’t be simple. It’s been going on for years. It went on when I played and I’m sure it went on way before that. And because you play so much now and you see teams so much now, they’re very familiar with what you do, so you have to be creative and you have to protect things.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Showalter went on a New York radio station and indicated that he believes the Yankees have stolen signs before.
“It happens with men on second base all the time,” Showalter said on Mike Lupica’s show on ESPN New York 98.7. “The Yankees are actually one of the better teams at it, and Toronto at their ballpark is very good at it. There’s a way to keep it from happening. You just change your signs there. It’s something they though was there that wasn’t there. I wish it was. We wouldn’t be bunting with the second hitter if we knew what was coming.”
Asked for his reaction to Showalter’s radio comments, Girardi told reporters, “I’m not going to react to that.”
It’s clear that Showalter’s anger wasn’t necessarily rooted from the accusation itself, but the fact that Girardi chose to yell at his third base coach.
“There’s a different way to handle it, I thought,” Showalter said on the radio. “It struck a chord with me.”
Both managers agreed on one thing — that it was time to turn the page on the situation.
“I’m not surprised by anything any more,” Showalter said. “I’m 57 year old. I just go, ‘OK, whats next?’ We move on. There’s a lot tougher things in this world going on than what happened in the game last night.”
Said Girardi: “That’s the thing about our game. You have to turn to page, whether it’s players managers coaches whatever happens because a new thing comes up. You just move on.”
Hammel hopes for a start
Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel said he hopes he’ll get a a starting opportunity down the stretch.
“That’s what I’m planning on, I hope it’s just not bullpen for me,” said Hammel, who has been in the bullpen since returning from the disabled list Thursday. “But it’s September and we’re right in the middle of it. Anything anybody can do to help.”
Hammel made his first relief appearance since 2011 on Sunday, pitching two scoreless innings in the Orioles’ loss to the Chicago White Sox.
“Obviously the arm feels a little different,” Hammel said. “The long toss you get as a starter you don’t get in the bullpen. It’s an adjustment there, but you’ve still got to come out and throw strikes and I was still able to throw strikes. That’s all that matters.”
When Hammel was moved to the bullpen during his final days with the Colorado Rockies in 2011, he pitched extremely well, posting a 1.74 ERA and holding batters to a .162 average.
Around the horn
Showalter said he’s prepared to be without right fielder Nick Markakis on Wednesday night. Markakis’ wife, Christina, is scheduled to be induced Wednesday morning, so Markakis could still possibly play. … Outfielder Steve Pearce, who received an injection in his left wrist Friday, is scheduled to participate in simulated games Friday and Saturday and could return for the Orioles’ series in Boston next week. … There’s no thought of sending top position player prospect Jonathan Schoop to instructional league. Showalter said he’s trying to find some playing time for Schoop and that Schoop will get valuable experience from going on the team’s road trip to Toronto, Boston and Tampa Bay. … Wednesday’s starter Scott Feldman is 3-4 with a 4.15 ERA in nine career appearances (seven starts) against the Yankees. He held New York to one run on six hits over seven innings in his previous start against the Yankees on Aug. 31 in the Bronx.
Here are tonight’s starting lineups: