It’s panic time in Philadelphia: Roy Halladay was forced from his start Sunday against the Cardinals after two innings due to a sore shoulder.
Halladay gave up a grand slam to Yadier Molina in the first inning of the contest. He rebounded to work a perfect second inning, but Pete Orr was sent up to pinch-hit for him in the bottom of the inning. St. Louis went on to win the game 8-3.
The Phillies said removing Halladay was a precautionary measure. He’ll be re-evaluated in the next couple of days. No MRI is planned, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.
If Halladay lands on the DL, it’d be his first trip there as a member of the Phillies. He spent 16 days on the DL with the Blue Jays in 2009 due to a groin strain. The last time he went on the DL with an arm problem was 2004, when he missed two months with a shoulder strain.
Halladay was coming off a loss to Washington in which he gave up five runs in six innings. Including the slam today, he’s given up five homers in his last three starts, covering 16 innings. Last year, he surrendered a total of 10 homers in 233 2/3 innings. Given his diminished velocity and occasionally diminished movement, it’d come as no surprise to learn that his shoulder has been barking for a while now.
We’ve had a couple of notable incidents of sign stealing in Major League Baseball over the past couple of years. Most famously, the Red Sox were found to be using Apple Watches of all things to relay signs spied via video feed. Sports Illustrated reported yesterday that there have been other less-publicized and unpublicized incidents as well, mostly with in-house TV cameras — as opposed to network TV cameras — stationed in the outfield and trained on catchers, for the specific purpose of stealing signs.
As such, SI reports, Major League Baseball is cracking down beginning this year. Within the next couple weeks an already-drafted and circulated rule will take effect which will (a) ban in-house outfield cameras from foul pole to foul pole; (b) will limit live broadcasts available to teams to the team’s replay official only, and the replay official will be watched by a league official to keep them from relaying signs to the team; and (c) other TV monitors that are available to the clubs will be on an eight-second delay to prevent real-time sign stealing. There will likewise be limits on TV monitors showing the game feed in certain places like tunnels and clubhouses.
Penalties for violation of the rules will include the forfeiting of draft picks and/or international spending money. General managers will have to sign a document in which they swear they know of know sign-stealing schemes.
As was the case when the Apple Watch incident came up, there will not be any new rules regarding old fashioned sign stealing by runners on second base or what have you, as that is viewed as part of the game. Only the technology-aided sign stealing that has become more prominent in recent years — but which has, of course, existed in other forms for a very, very long time — is subject to the crackdown.
While gamesmanship of one form or another has always been part of baseball, the current wave of sign-stealing is seen as a pace-of-play issue just as much as a fairness issue. Because of the actual sign-stealing — and because of paranoia that any opponent could be stealing signs — clubs have gone to far more elaborate and constantly changing sign protocols. This requires mound meetings and pitchers coming off the rubber in order to re-start the increasingly complex series of signs from dugout to catcher and from catcher to pitcher.
Now, presumably, with these new rules coming online, teams will figure out a new way to cheat. It’s baseball, after all. It’s in their DNA.