Catch­ers’ tricks at­tract scru­tiny

Orlando Sentinel - - BASEBALL -

The con­cept of pitch fram­ing is not ex­actly new, but it cer­tainly seems to be un­der a bit more scru­tiny now.

There was even a bench­clear­ing in­ci­dent ear­lier this month when Ari­zona man­ager Torey Lovullo started ar­gu­ing with the plate um­pire about St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina’s fram­ing.

Lovullo said he praised Molina while us­ing a pro­fan­ity.

The two had a shout­ing match.

It’s rare for some­thing as mun­dane as pitch fram­ing to cause such a dust-up, but it’s clear that play­ers, man­agers and um­pires are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly cog­nizant of the way catch­ers can try to in­flu­ence calls on balls and strikes.

“I’ve had an um­pire tell me this year that bor­der­line pitches, I’m mak­ing them look bet­ter than what they are,” Detroit catcher James Mc­Cann said.

“They’ve known for years that we try to steal strikes.

“It’s prob­a­bly just more in the lime­light now be­cause we do have the fram­ing num­bers, and we do have um­pires grades.”

Lovullo’s com­plaints aside, there doesn’t seem to be too much of a back­lash yet over the way catch­ers try to get a few ex­tra strikes by pulling their gloves into the strike zone when grab­bing border-line pitches.

“Peo­ple get pitches off the plate all the time. It hap­pens,” San Diego out­fielder Wil My­ers said.

“Um­pires are hu­man, they mess up, they just make a bad call ev­ery now and then.

“Yadier Molina is a great catcher who can get a lit­tle more strikes than most catch­ers.

“Good for him, right? That’s why he’s be­hind the plate and that’s why he does what he does.”

Wash­ing­ton catcher Matt Wi­eters says he thinks um­pires have be­come less sen­si­tive to the idea that catch­ers may be try­ing to de­ceive them.

“It used to be where, when I was first start­ing, the um­pire would say, ‘Hey, stop do­ing that.’ And now that’s not re­ally the case any­more,” Wi­eters said.

“You prob­a­bly will get blow­back for it as a catcher, but your No. 1 job is to get the pitcher as many pitches as you can get, so do what you can.”

Wi­eters also says there’s a fi­nan­cial in­cen­tive for catch­ers to hone that part of the skill set.

“Through­out the league it’s be­come such a big thing be­cause guys are start­ing to get con­tracts be­cause of how they’re able to get strikes for their pitch­ers,” Wi­eters said.

“I don’t think it’s ever the other man­ager’s spot to say some­thing about how the catcher’s catch­ing a ball.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.