Pirates’ Rodolfo Castro suspended 1 game for phone flap, he appeals

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Rodolfo Castro was suspended for one game by Major League Baseball for having a cellphone in his back pocket during a game last week.

The penalty, which included an undisclosed fine, had been set to take effect when the Pirates hosted Boston. The 23-year-old Castro appealed and can play until the process is complete.

“I just really want MLB to hear my version of the story and make sure they understand my heart behind everything,” Castro said through an interpreter before the game against the Red Sox.

“None of this was intentional, I didn’t mean for any of this to happen,” he said.

Castro’s phone flew from his pocket when he made a head-first dive into third base at Arizona on Aug. 9.

The play drew plenty of attention at the ballpark and beyond in the sports world. Many cringed while others laughed it off as the video clip was seen by millions.

Castro apologized after the game, saying it was an honest mistake. He said he put his oven mitt-like sliding glove in his pocket and forgot about the phone, which now had some cushion.

“I just remember getting dressed, putting my pants on, getting something to eat, using the restroom,” Castro said after the Pirates lost 6-4 to Arizona. “Never did it ever cross my mind that I still had my cellphone on me.”

MLB has cracked down on technology use by players in the wake of the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal. The Astros used live TV feeds to steal opposing teams’ signs on the way to winning the 2017 World Series championship and part of the subsequent season.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and then-manager A.J. Hinch were suspended for the 2020 season. The Astros also were fined $5 million and forfeited their first- and second-round picks in 2020 and 2021.

Castro is hitting .239 in 27 games in his second major league season.

Asked about the penalty, Pirates manager Derek Shelton said “we respect MLB’s decision” and left it at that.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

Getty Images
2 Comments

PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.