Binoculars in the bullpen? Major League Baseball isn’t happy, and has told the Philadelphia Phillies to knock it off.
The Phillies insisted Wednesday they weren’t trying to steal signs when bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer was caught on camera peering through binoculars from the bullpen bench at Coors Field earlier this week.
Manager Charlie Manuel said Billmeyer simply was watching Philadelphia catcher Carlos Ruiz set up defensively Monday night.
FSN Rocky Mountain, the flagship broadcaster of the Colorado Rockies, showed Billmeyer using the binoculars to peer in on Colorado catcher Miguel Olivo while the Phillies were at bat in the top of the second inning.
It also showed a quick image of Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino in the dugout on the bullpen phone in the top of the second.
“We were not trying to steal signs,” Manuel said. “Would we try to steal somebody’s signs? Yeah, if we can. But we don’t do that. We’re not going to let a guy stand up there in the bullpen with binoculars looking in. We’re smarter than that.”
While sign-stealing is something all teams try to do, using electronic equipment and technology is not allowed in baseball.
It’s not the first time accusations of cheating have been lobbed at the Phillies. The New York Mets accused the Phillies of stealing signs through a center-field camera in 2007, and the Boston Red Sox leveled charges against them in 2008.
Phillies reliever Brad Lidge flew back to Philadelphia from Denver to have his surgically repaired right elbow examined.
The Phillies’ closer began the year on the disabled list following offseason surgery on his pitching elbow.
He allowed a home run in his season debut April 30 against the New York Mets.
Since then, Lidge had put together three consecutive scoreless innings over three appearances.
TO YOGI, FROM JOE
Yankees manager Joe Girardi joked he got legend Yogi Berra a doubleheader for his birthday.
The Hall of Fame catcher turned 85 on Wednesday and talked to Girardi before New York played the first of two games against the Detroit Tigers.
Girardi said Berra laughed when he told him the team was going to play two so that he could watch a game before and after going to dinner with his grandkids.
Nationals right-hander Jason Marquis is scheduled for surgery Friday to remove bone chips from his pitching elbow. He’s expected to be sidelined until August. ... Padres reliever Tim Stauffer was released from a San Francisco hospital after emergency appendectomy Tuesday. Stauffer, who’s been placed on the 15-day DL, visited his teammates after getting released from the hospital. ... The Orioles purchased the contract of outfielder Corey Patterson from Triple-A Norfolk, sent left fielder Nolan Reimold to the Tides and moved second baseman Brian Roberts (back) to the 60-day disabled list. Patterson signed a minor league contract with the Mariners in December, but opted out of his contract in March when he didn’t make the team out of spring training. ... Right-hander Stephen Strasburg, the No. 1 overall pick, pitched six innings without allowing a hit in his latest start for the Nationals’ Triple-A club Syracuse. He struck out seven and walked one in the 4-0 win over Norfolk. ... Filmmaker Ken Burns is wading into the steroids era for a postscript to his 1994 PBS documentary “Baseball.” “The Tenth Inning,” a four-hour documentary, will air Sept. 28 and 29. ... Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield recorded his 2,000th career strikeout in the fourth inning by fanning Toronto’s Vernon Wells. ... Astros reliever Tim Byrdak was examined in Houston and will receive an injection to relieve irritation in a lower back disk Friday. ... The deadline for draft picks to sign has been moved back one day to Aug. 16.