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Umpire’s mask thwarts Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s attempt at ruining a rally

05.01.13 at 12:19 am ET
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Jarrod Saltalamacchia

TORONTO – In a game full of pivotal plays, it was one of the more notable ones.

With the bases-loaded, and the Blue Jays already carrying a 1-0 lead, Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia attempted a back-door pick-off play with first baseman Mike Napoli. The plan was to catch Jose Bautista cheating off first, a ploy hatched knowing the Toronto slugger liked to cheat a bit out in his leads.

But Saltalamacchia’s throw went well wide of first, sailing into right field, allowing two runs to score.

As it turned out, however, there might have been a reason for the errant toss.

“It looked like he got tied up with [home plate umpire] Clint [Fagan] behind the plate,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “He goes to cock his arm, had his hand hits the mask. After conferring with the umpire, he felt like it was after the ball was released. Physically, I don’t know how that could have happened after he released the ball. But in that case, that should have been a dead ball in the situation that it was, but they kept it as it was.”

It was an entanglement Saltalamacchia confirmed after the Red Sox’ 9-7 loss at Rogers Centre.

“I got it, went to go through it, elbow hit the umpire’s mask,” the catcher explained. “Which I’ve done in the past but no one’s ever said anything. But I didn’t really make a stink about it because I didn’t know the ruling on it. But now I know once it hits his mask it’s got to be a dead ball. It definitely, definitely hit. Part of the game.”

As for any subsequent conversations, Saltalamacchia said, “I did talk to him because he had told John that I hit him on the follow thru, which is kind of impossible. But I did tell him that, and he said, ‘Well, I thought you did.’ I told him that ‘when my arm is going back is when I felt it hit you.’ At that point I was already getting ready to go forward so I couldn’t hold up.”

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