Blue Jays pitcher Jay Jackson said he tipped his pitches while taking on Yankees star Aaron Judge, who came under much scrutiny for a side glance before his mammoth home run against the Toronto right-hander.
Television cameras showed Judge taking a quick peek at the Yankees’ first base dugout before his 462-foot home run in Monday’s eighth inning against Jackson.
Blue Jays announcers speculated that Judge was looking for some kind of signal, and Toronto manager John Schneider called the slugger’s look “kind of odd,” but Jackson, meanwhile, offered a clear explanation an interview with The Athletic.
“From what I was told, I sort of called the shots,” Jackson told The Athletic in a report released Wednesday. “It was [less] my grip as I got behind my ear. It was the time it took me away from my set position, from my glove reaching from my head to my waist. I was somehow faster on fastballs than on sliders. They kind of picked it up.
It was the second home run of the night for Judge, who after the game said he was trying to figure out “who chirped from our dugout” to board umpire Clint Vondrak.
However, the Blue Jays didn’t believe Judge’s explanation and Schneider mentioned that the reigning American League MVP may have received signals from the Yankees first base coach Travis Chapman.
“If they knew it was coming and he circumcised me, he circumcised me,” Jackson told The Athletic. “I’m glad he’s made it this far.”
Judge’s home run came after a 3-2 slider from Jackson – the sixth straight slider he threw in the at-bat. Jackson, who was demoted to the minors ahead of Tuesday’s game, said several members of the Blue Jays informed him that he was tapping pitches.
“One of the guys told me I might have tipped my pitches,” he told The Athletic. “Then the video guy came back later and said, ‘Hey, we might have found out about the difference between your slider and fastball. It could have been something these guys were sampling from. Just be aware of that. You might want to change it next time.'”
The Yankees have not been charged with using electronic devices to decipher the Blue Jays’ shields, which violates Major League Baseball rules.
“In my opinion, when you do things in front of everyone, you have to be able to correct them and you have to be willing to face the consequences as they are,” Schneider told reporters, according to The Athletic. “If it’s done fairly – that’s part of the game. Everyone wants to help their team-mates, everyone wants to pick up on trends, so anything that happens right on the field is – absolutely fair play.”
The Blue Jays brought up the topic again during Tuesday’s game where Chapman and third-base coach Luis Rojas stood, leading to a brief shouting match involving Schneider, Rojas, Yankees manager Aaron Boone and Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker were involved.
Decoding an opponent’s signals without electronic equipment and relaying them to a hitter isn’t against MLB rules, and Boone said he finds arguments over coach positioning “tired.”
“It’s just silly,” Boone said. “It’s ridiculous and I think everyone – I hope on both sides – is aware of that.”
Judge’s reaction to the situation was another monstrous home run — a two-run blast that broke an eighth-inning tie and propelled the Yankees to a 6-3 victory on Tuesday. During the 448-foot drive to midfield, part of a white maple leaf shield shattered – Canada’s national symbol and the logo of Canadian airline West Jet, sponsor of the midfield bar area.
The Yankees and Blue Jays wrap up their three-game streak Wednesday night in Toronto.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.