‘Defeats the purpose’: Tigers give a hard pass on electronic pitch-calling

Detroit News

Detroit — The Tigers early in spring, with catcher Tucker Barnhart leading the campaign, quickly opted against using the PitchCom technology to relay pitch calls between catcher and pitcher.

And they pointed to the three-minute delay in the game Friday as one of the reasons why.

The game had to be halted in the sixth inning when White Sox pitcher Kendall Graveman started having trouble with his earpiece, which is placed inside the lining of the pitcher’s cap.

The umpires came to the mound. Catcher Yasmani Grandal came to the mound. Manager Tony La Russa came to the mound.

Counterproductive for a devise meant to speed up pace of play.

“I mean, when the crowd gets rocking like that and (the catcher) is hitting all these buttons and now you have to stop the game for three minutes — it defeats the purpose,” Tigers catcher Eric Haase said. “We’ve gone to such great lengths mixing up our signs and we all have the wristbands with the signs, it’s just way easier just to keep rolling with that than mess with the buttons and the pitcher is shaking off signs and what not.”

Haase was asked what the procedure was for when a pitcher does shake off a sign.

“I have no idea,” he said.

White Sox starter Dylan Cease had similar issues with the PitchCom in the fifth inning Saturday, though the delay was far shorter.

Estimates are that half the teams in baseball are using the PitchCom technology.

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Get ’em in

Tigers manager AJ Hinch said he’s mapped out the first few games to make sure the bench players get some early-season starts. It was pre-determined, for example, that Haase would catch Casey Mize Saturday.

Harold Castro will likely get a start at first base Sunday or Monday.

“Whether Tork (first baseman Spencer Torkelson) gets no hits, two hits or four hits today, he may have tomorrow off,” Hinch said. “I have to get these guys into a game, otherwise I wasted a three-week spring. We played Harold two out of three days in spring. Now we give him an at-bat in the eighth game of the season? That’s totally unfair to him.”

Dustin Garneau will catch Tyler Alexander’s start on Tuesday. Parker Meadows, who missed the last week of camp with Tampa, will get a day off soon, with Victor Reyes getting a start.

Hinch also said he will likely give Miguel Cabrera a rest on Wednesday, which is the last game of the homestand. Cabrera will eventually get a start at first base, too, but that hasn’t been slotted yet.

Around the horn

… Hinch said he was moved by the pre-game memorial for the late Kimera Bartee Friday. “As men in this industry, as people, we probably don’t tell people how much we love them and appreciate them enough until they are gone,” he said. “I hope that’s something our guys get better at. Yesterday made us wish we had him back.”

… Hinch remains undefeated as a manager on Opening Day, 9-0. “Yep, kept that streak alive,” he said with a smile. “I don’t know who we play next year but watch out.”

… The White Sox placed starting pitcher Lucas Giolito on the injured list after he came out of his start Friday after four innings with an oblique strain. Then in the third inning Saturday, right fielder A.J. Pollock left the game with an apparent hamstring injury. The White Sox were already without starting third baseman Yoan Moncada (oblique) and shortstop Tim Anderson (suspension).

Twitter@cmccosky

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