PHOENIX — When a baseball player gets recalled from the minor leagues, he wants to make a good impression.
Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Rodolfo Castro made an impression, all right -- but not a good one.
Castro’s cellphone flew out of his back pocket as he slid headfirst into third base Tuesday night, The Arizona Republic reported. Castro was advancing from first on Oneil Cruz’s single during the fourth inning against the Diamondbacks when the iPhone tumbled to the ground near third base. He did not even notice the phone on the ground until third base umpire Adam Hamari pointed to it.
“I looked at him like, ‘What?’ And then when I looked at where he was pointing, I saw my phone and I was shocked,” Castro, 23, told reporters through a translator. “I was completely surprised. The first thing that crossed my mind is like, ‘I can’t believe this is happening to me right now.’ I felt embarrassed.”
Castro picked up the phone and handed it to Pirates third-base coach Mike Rabelo, who grimaced as he took the electronic device.
“You stay around the game and you see things you haven’t seen before,’’ Pirates manager Derek Shelton told reporters after the game. “This was just a kid who made a mistake. It’s just one of those things we move forward from and tell him, ‘You can’t do that.’’'
Diamondbacks third baseman Josh Rojas, who was standing next to Castro, was skeptical.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Rojas told the Republic. “Not even the first inning, it was the fourth inning, which means he had to have sat on it, right? You’ve got to know that’s in there.”
“I just remember getting dressed, putting my pants on, getting something to eat, using the restroom,” Castro said after the Pirates’ 6-4 loss to Arizona. “Never did it ever cross my mind that I still had my cellphone on me.”
In 2015, Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval was found to be using Instagram during games, the Republic reported.
The next call Castro could receive might be from Major League Baseball. MLB rules state that uniformed personnel are forbidden from using phones on the field once batting practice begins, or in a team’s clubhouse within 30 minutes of the first pitch, according to the newspaper.
MLB has cracked down on technology being used on the field since the Houston Astros used live television feeds to steal opposing teams’ signs during their 2017 World Series championship season and during parts of the 2018 season, ESPN reported.
Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch were suspended for the 2020 season, and the team was fined $5 million and forfeited their first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021, the sports network reported.
“I’m sure we’ll hear from the league,” Shelton told reporters. “But (the umpires) handled it great, realized that it was a young kid that made a mistake and had his phone in his pocket and there was no intent to use it or do anything with it.”
“My first day back, if I was to be the center of attention, I would want it to be helping the team win, but never in this form,’’ Castro told reporters. “This is definitely something that was an accident, a mistake, something I’m going to learn from. But definitely something I didn’t mean to happen.’’
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