Pirates Rodolfo Castro suspended 1 game for cell phone accident

One of baseball’s strangest on-field incidents in recent years has resulted in a one-game suspension — at least for now.

Rodolfo Castro, the Pittsburgh Pirates player whose cell phone was pulled from his pocket while sliding into third base during a game last week, has been suspended for one game by Major League Baseball for violating the league’s electronic device policy. He has appealed the suspension and will be eligible to play pending a decision on his appeal.

He was also fined an undisclosed amount.

“I really want MLB to hear my side of the story and make sure they understand my heart behind it all,” Castro, 23, told reporters through a Spanish-language interpreter before Tuesday’s home game against the Boston Red Sox. “None of this was intentional, I didn’t mean for it to happen.”

The play in question came in the fourth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks on August 9, the same day Castro was called up from Class AAA. Castro, Pittsburgh’s second-season shortstop, headed to third and pulled his iPhone out of his pocket and onto the Phoenix infield dirt.

While the performance generated a lot of laughs, it also raised the possibility that the phone could be used for some illicit reason. Castro insisted at the time that nothing of the sort happened.

“I don’t think there’s a professional gamer who would ever go out there with the intention of picking up a cell phone,” he told reporters at the time. “It’s terrible that this happened to me. Obviously, it was very unintentional.”

MLB has been working to monitor the use of in-game technology since high-profile incidents in which the Houston Astros had an elaborate sign-stealing scheme that included the use of a video replay room and the Boston Red Sox had a sign-stealing system that used Apple Watches. .

While MLB has issued suspensions of various lengths this season, including the 80-game suspension of San Diego Padres’ Fernando Tati Jr. for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs; three-game suspension for Tommy Pham, then of the Cincinnati Reds, for hitting an opponent; and the one-game suspension of the Yankees’ Josh Donaldson for disrespectful comments to the Chicago White Sox’s Tim Anderson.

“You stay around the game and see things you’ve never seen before,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton told reporters after the incident. “It was just a kid who made a mistake. It’s just one of those things where we move forward and tell him, “You can’t do that.”

Asked about the suspension Tuesday, Shelton told reporters that “we respect MLB’s decision” and had no further comment.

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