Dustin Pedroia downplays scandal: 'Don't think this should be news'

ByScott Lauber via ESPN logo
Thursday, September 7, 2017

BOSTON -- As he sat down Wednesday to begin his daily pregame media session, Red Sox manager John Farrell looked at his wristwatch, nothing more than a reflex. Then, he realized an opportunity for comedy.

"It's not an Apple Watch," Farrell said.

One day after commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed a New York Times report that Major League Baseball is investigating claims by the New York Yankees that the Red Sox used electronics -- an Apple Watch, to be specific -- to read and relay signs from Yankees catchers, Boston players and staff members remained wholly unapologetic, even making light of the situation.

"It's part of the game," Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. "Our adjustment to that stuff is: Go out to the mound and change the signs.

"It's been around a long, long time. We were doing that at Douglass Junior High School [in Woodland, California], where I played. So, I don't think this should be news to everybody."

Pedroia said he hasn't been interviewed by MLB as part of the investigation. If he were to be interviewed, however, he said he would have an explanation for the video, provided by the Yankees, that shows him conferring with assistant athletic trainer Jon Jochim. Jochim is believed to have received text messages on his Apple Watch from a staff member in the clubhouse with information about the Yankees' signs.

"I was talking to the trainer about what time I'm rehabbing the next day, because I was on the DL," Pedroia said.

Pedroia's larger point was that the video of him talking to a trainer isn't necessarily incriminating. He noted that the Yankees had video of Red Sox right-hander Doug Fister wearing what they thought was an earpiece.

"It was his mouthguard," Pedroia said. "I mean, it's baseball, man."

After his start Wednesday night at Fenway Park, a 6-1 Red Sox victory over theToronto Blue Jays, Fister said he has pitched with the mouthguard for "a couple, three years now" because he grinds his teeth.

"It's definitely something I've used a lot," Fistersaid.

The Yankees went 11-8 against the Red Sox this season. The Sox batted .143 (20-for-140) with runners in scoring position, although their numbers in that situation were far better during an Aug. 18-20 series, in which the Yankees filmed the Sox's dugout in search of evidence of electronic sign stealing.

Farrell has maintained that he didn't know the extent of the sign-stealing operation.

"I would say this, that over my career there are players that are more adept at picking up signs than others," Farrell said. "And that's not really a conversation point [with the manager or other staff members]. That's more they're providing information to their teammates."

Farrell said the Red Sox are conducting an internal investigation into the situation. There aren't any rules against sign stealing, a common practice throughout baseball history, but the use of binoculars or electronic devices in the dugout is prohibited.

Pedroia noted, though, that teams are permitted to use a customized iPad Pro in the dugout, a fact he likely brought up to illustrate the blurred lines about what equipment can be used.

"I don't really know what the rulebook says on that," Pedroia said of the use of an Apple Watch. "I know we have iPads in the dugout. I mean, is that a false thing, too? Are we not supposed to have iPads in there?"

Manfred said Tuesday that the investigation into the Red Sox -- and a countercomplaint filed by the Red Sox against the Yankees -- is ongoing. Although Manfred said he wants a swift resolution, there isn't a timetable for when he might issue a ruling.

MLB has the authority to strip the Red Sox of wins against the Yankees, but there isn't any precedent for such a punishment. It's more likely the Sox would receive a fine or perhaps a loss of draft picks, according to multiple sources.

Regardless, the Red Sox seem unconcerned.

"We're here to play baseball games," Pedroia said. "We've got a 3-game lead in our division. Other than that, nobody gives a s---. We're trying to win baseball games."

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