Blue Jays pitcher Jay Jackson said he tipped his pitches while facing Yankees star Aaron Judge, who received widespread scrutiny for a sideways glance before the his big home run from the Toronto right-hander.
Television cameras showed Judge glancing quickly into the Yankees’ first-base dugout before his 462-foot homer in the eighth inning Monday against Jackson.
Blue Jays broadcasters speculated Judge was looking for some kind of signal, and Toronto manager John Schneider called the slugger’s sighting “kind of weird,” but Jackson offered a candid explaining in an interview with The Athletic.
“From what I was told, I was kind of tipping the pitch,” Jackson told The Athletic as part of a report published last Wednesday. “It was [less] I held it when I got close to my ear. This is when I was taken from my fixed position, from my gloves that went from my head to my hips. With fastballs, I do it quicker than with sliders. They kind of take it. “
It was the second homer of the night for Judge, who said after the game that he was trying to figure out “who’s chirping from our dugout” to plate umpire Clint Vondrak.
The Blue Jays, however, did not buy Judge’s explanation, and Schneider mentioned that the reigning American League MVP may have received signals from Yankees first-base coach Travis Chapman.
“If they knew it was coming and he cut me, he cut me,” Jackson told The Athletic. “I’m glad he hit it as far as he did.”
Judge’s homer came on a 3-2 slider from Jackson — his sixth straight at-bat. Jackson, who was demoted to the minors before Tuesday’s game, said several members of the Blue Jays informed him that he was tipping pitches.
“One of the guys told me maybe I was tipping my pitches,” he told The Athletic. “Then the video guy came back later and said, ‘Hey, we might have picked up something on the difference between your slider and fastball. It might be something that those guys are keying off on. Just be aware of it. . to change it next time.'”
The Yankees were not accused of using electronic equipment to detect the Blue Jays’ signs, which is against Major League Baseball rules.
“If you do things in plain sight, I think you have to correct them and you have to be ready to have the consequences as they are,” Schneider told reporters, according to The Athletic. “If it’s done fairly – that’s part of the game. Everyone’s looking to help their teammates, everyone’s looking to take chances, so whatever happens on the field in the right way – absolutely fair game.”
The Blue Jays again raised the issue of where Chapman and third-base coach Luis Rojas stood during Tuesday’s game, leading to a brief shouting match involving Schneider, Rojas, the Yankees manager Aaron Boone and Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker.
Deciphering an opponent’s signals without electronic equipment and relaying them to a batter is not against MLB rules, and Boone said he found the arguments in the coach’s position “tired.”
“It’s just crazy,” Boone said. “It’s ridiculous and I think everyone – I hope on both sides – realizes it.”
Judge’s response to the situation was another monstrous home run — a two-run blast that broke an eighth-inning tie and lifted the Yankees to a 6-3 victory on Tuesday. The 448-foot drive to center field broke part of the white maple leaf sign — Canada’s national symbol, and the logo of Canada’s West Jet airline, sponsor of the center-field bar area.
The Yankees and Blue Jays wrapped up their three-game series on Wednesday night in Toronto.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.