TORONTO (AP) — Kansas Royals pitcher Edinson Volquez says teammate Johnny Cueto believes the Toronto Blue Jays were stealing signs in their Game 3 victory Monday night in the American League Championship Series.
Volquez, Kansas City’s Game 5 starter, said Cueto thought the Blue Jays were having signs relayed to them from center field during an 11-8 win. Cueto was chased with no outs in the third inning, having allowed eight runs and six hits.
“I think he said last night, they got a guy in center field. You see how hard it is. He looks to center field and he sees somebody do this or do that. It’s really hard to do that,” Volquez said before Game 4 Tuesday.
Volquez and many others weren’t all that convinced.
“That’s your fault,” Volquez said. “You’ve got to hide the ball and have better communication with the catcher giving you signs when you’re pitching. So it’s nothing wrong with it. We just have to hide the ball and give multiple signs to hide it from them.”
Royals manager Ned Yost wasn’t putting too much into the accusation, saying it never came up during the game.
“We always watch for that whoever we’re playing,” Yost said. “We use multiple signs, set up late. It’s not really an issue for us. We always make sure we are changing signs because clubs will look to relay location. But we haven’t seen any sign of it here.”
Commissioner Rob Manfred was more amused than concerned.
“Stealing signs is something that is often claimed, rarely proven in baseball,” he said.
This isn’t the first time the Blue Jays have been accused of stealing signs. In 2011, ESPN, citing four anonymous relievers, reported an AL team saw a man in a white shirt sending signals from the outfield seats to the batter’s box during a game in 2010.
Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin, when he was with the Yankees in 2011, claimed Toronto was relaying information from second base during a July series in Toronto.
Martin declined to speak with reporters Tuesday.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons didn’t exactly deny the accusation, but that’s more likely because teams are always looking for an edge. There is no prohibition in the Official Baseball Rules on sign stealing.
“I don’t think that’s what’s going on,” Gibbons said. “That’s something that’s been around baseball for a long time. There was some talk in the game on Saturday that they came back and beat us, maybe they were stealing signs. I can’t get caught up in that.”
Toronto first baseman Chris Colabello had another suggestion: pitch better.
“At the end of the day, if you execute pitches the way you want to, it shouldn’t matter,” he said.