One of the weirdest incidents in baseball in recent years has resulted in a one-game suspension, at least for now.
Rodolfo Castro, the Pittsburgh Pirates infielder who slipped his cellphone out of his pocket as he slid into third base during a game last week, has been suspended for one game by the Major League Baseball for violating league electronics policy. He has appealed the suspension and will be allowed to play until his appeal is resolved.
He was also fined an undisclosed amount.
“I really want MLB to hear my side of the story and make sure they get my heart behind it all,” Castro, 23, told reporters through a Spanish-language interpreter before the Tuesday’s home game against the Boston Red Sox. “None of this was intentional, I didn’t want it to happen.”
The play in question occurred in the fourth inning of a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 9, the same day Castro was recalled from Class AAA. Castro, an infielder in his second season with Pittsburgh, slid headfirst into third and slid his iPhone out of his pocket and onto the infield at Phoenix.
Although the piece drew a lot of laughs, it also raised the possibility that the phone could have been used for an illicit reason. Castro insisted at the time that no such thing happened.
“I don’t think there is a professional baseball player who would ever go out with the intention of picking up a cell phone,” he told reporters at the time. “It’s horrible what happened to me. Obviously it was very unintentional.
MLB worked to monitor the use of technology in the game after high-profile incidents in which the Houston Astros had an elaborate backboard theft scheme that involved the use of the video replay room and the Red Sox of Boston had a panel theft system that used Apple Watches. .
None of the Astros or Red Sox players involved in these incidents have been suspended for their use of technology, as they were granted immunity in exchange for their cooperation in investigations.
While MLB has issued suspensions of varying lengths this season, including an 80-game ban on Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs; a three-game ban for Tommy Pham, then of the Cincinnati Reds, for slapping an opponent; and a one-game ban from Josh Donaldson of the Yankees for disrespectful comments he made to Tim Anderson of the Chicago White Sox, Castro’s suspension is somewhat unique as it appears he did nothing intentionally of badness.
“You stay around the game and you see things you’ve never seen before,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton told reporters after the incident. “He was just a kid who made a mistake. It’s just one of those things that we come forward and say, ‘You can’t do this.’
Asked about the suspension Tuesday, Shelton told reporters “we respect MLB’s decision” and did not comment further.