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.