Thursday, May 25, 2023

PitchCom Fails, Causes Balk in Mets-Cubs Game

With Nico Hoerner batting for the Cubs with runners on first and second base, 3B Umpire Rob Drake called Mets pitcher Kodai Senga for a balk when Senga's PitchCom system failed and he tried to reset on the mound with catcher Francisco Alvarez in the dark on Senga's signs.

Beginning in 2023, MLB allows pitchers to tell catchers what pitch they would like to throw by using the PitchCom button input device, which Senga wore on his belt.

The 0-2 pitch to Hoerner began when Senga engaged the pitching rubber with his hands separated. He then started to press PitchCom buttons with his pitching hand (while holding the ball), and with two runners on base, covered his throwing hand with his glove hand, giving the appearance that his hands had been brought together, as in Set Position.

PitchCom malfunctioned and when Senga realized his button-pressing wasn't working, he dropped his hands to his side and was called for a balk for removing a hand (his glove) from the ball after having brought them together, as in Official Baseball Rule 6.02(a)(10): "The pitcher, after coming to a legal pitching position, removes one hand from the ball other than in an actual pitch, or in throwing to a base."

With two runners on base, this resulted in a balk.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Pitcher balks after trying to fix a broken PitchCom while still on the mound


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