Porter address pitching change controversy

Here’s what Astros manager Bo Porter told the media about the seventh-inning pitching change controversy in Thursday’s loss to the Angels.

With runners at first and third and two outs and the Angels trailing, 5-3, in the seventh, Porter brought in lefty Wesley Wright to face left-handed hitter J.B. Shuck. Porter then subbed right-hander Hector Ambriz before Wright threw a pitch after he saw right-hander Luis Jimenez on deck to pinch-hit.

Rule 3.05 (b) says that a pitcher must face at least one hitter before he can come out of the game, unless he’s injured. Wright didn’t appear to be injured, and Angels manager Mike Scioscia argued at length with the umpires before notifying them he was playing the game under protest.

Q: Can you walk us through the pitching change in the seventh inning?

A: “My understanding of the rule, and I was fortunate enough last year to sit in with [Nationals manager] Davey [Johnson] when they changed the rule of a pitcher having to face a batter. But at the same time, if you have to pinch-hit for that batter, you now have the right to bring in another pitcher. Technically, Wesley came in to pitch the batter that was scheduled to hit [Shuck] but he pinch-hit for the batter that was scheduled to hit. Which, from my understanding of the rule, you can bring in another pitcher to face the pinch-hitter.”

Q:  What’s going through your mind when the umps are talking?

A: “At that point, you just let the umpires sort it out. Like I said, my understanding of the rule…I felt like if I did the best thing for my team, I was going to let the umpires sort it out. At that point, the umpires decided that we were able to let Ambriz face the pinch-hitter. I don’t think the delay or anything affected Ambriz from a standpoint of his effectiveness.”

Q: Just to be clear, before you went out to get Wesley you stopped to talk to the umpires for a while. That was…?

A: “The first thing I wanted to make sure is the pinch-hitter was in the game. That’s why I stopped before I went to the mound, to make sure he pinch-hit for the guy who was scheduled to hit.”

Q: So Jimenez was in the game?

A: “Yes. Once I made sure that he pinch-hit for the batter that was scheduled to hit, then I started towards the mound. The home plate umpire, he kind of stopped me. He said, ‘Whoa, Bo,’ and then Scioscia started yelling he has to face a hitter. I just calmly explained to him my interpretation of the rule is ‘Yes he has to face hitter ,as long as it’s the hitter that’s scheduled to hit.’ The hitter that was scheduled to hit had now been pinch-hit for, which now gives me the right to bring a pitcher to face the pinch-hitter.”



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