MILWAUKEE – In the wake of the Houston Astros’ illegally stealing signs and relaying pitches to their hitters, Major League Baseball announced before the season that in-game video would not be allowed.
The Twins and hitters throughout the league are now dealing with the ramifications as they try to prepare to face pitchers without being able to look at replays of at-bats to make in-game adjustments.
“I was a guy who used a lot of video last year,” Twins All-Star shortstop Jorge Polanco said. “I think every at-bat, I used to watch me to see what I’m doing good and what I’m doing bad, to make an adjustment from there. This year has been really hard for the first couple of games to get used to not having videos and not seeing what you’re doing wrong and bad.”
Indications are that nearly every team in the league has pleaded with MLB since the start of the season to loosen the restrictions on the use of video. Rays manager Kevin Cash, during an appearance Friday on MLB Network Radio, suggested it was unfair for everyone to suffer when one team cheated.
“The best we can do right now in regards to the video is postgame,” Twins hitting coach Edgar Varela said. “Trying to send guys videos for them to be able to view their night, their at-bats.”
Of all the routines that have been altered because of the pandemic, Major League Baseball’s stance on replays has made preparation for hitters more difficult.
If a hitter feels like he’s drifting, or not getting his foot down in time or jumping at pitches, he can’t analyze his swing after a plate appearances. So he might head back to the plate a little unsure of himself.
“It affects every player a little differently,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Some guys, it might affect in a fairly big way, and some guys, I don’t think it affects them much at all. But it’s a way the game has evolved that has now been kind of taken away from us.
“It’s led to a lot of discussion, and maybe, in some instances, a little bit of frustration, just because it’s taking away something that we’ve always had. Again, there’s no excuses here because everyone is dealing with the exact same set of circumstances. We’ll be fine and we’ll handle it and be all right. But it definitely changes the game, the way it’s played, from our end.”
Hill making progress
Lefthander Rich Hill made his Twins debut on July 29, throwing five shutout innings against St. Louis. He hasn’t been seen since, because of a sore shoulder. But he threw in the bullpen Tuesday and is clamoring to return.
“He’s very eager and excited about the way he’s feeling right now,” Baldelli said. “If it were up to him, he’d be starting first game back, but we’re not going to do that. We’re going to make sure he’s built up.”
Hill will likely pitch some sort of simulated game at Target Field, then return to the rotation.
Bailey further back
Righthander Homer Bailey made his Twins debut on July 28, holding St. Louis to two runs over five innings and picking up the win. He hasn’t been seen since, because of a sore biceps.
Bailey remains on a throwing program and has yet to throw a bullpen session, so he is several more days away from pitching in a game.
Infielder Ildemaro Vargas, acquired from Arizona on Tuesday, has arrived in the Twin Cities and has entered the testing phase. He could be added to the active roster as soon as Friday.