In late February, Major League Baseball officially announced the new intentional walk rule, which allowed managers to intentionally walk an opposing batter with a signal rather than instructing his pitcher to throw four pitches wide of the strike zone. The signal wasn’t invoked much in spring training, so we had to wait until April to see it in action. Understandably, it’s going to take some getting used to.
According to Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times, Angels center fielder Mike Trout was confused by the new rule during the eighth inning of Monday night’s season opener against the Athletics. Trout had doubled to bring Pujols to the plate. With first base open, Athletics manager Bob Melvin opted to intentionally walk Pujols, so he gave the signal.
Trout said, “I called timeout, got back to the bag, and when I looked up, he was on first base. It was different. He was laughing. I was laughing. It took me a little bit to figure out what happened. But that’s the way it’s going, I guess.”
The intentional walk worked in the Athletics’ favor as, after Pujols was given first base, C.J. Cron grounded out to end the inning. The Angels went on to lose 4-2.