Yankees reliever tosses PitchCom device into stands, but avoids $5K bill

New York Yankees' Michael King pitches during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles Tuesday, May 23, 2023, in New York. The Yankees won 6-5. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
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NEW YORK (AP) — Michael King makes his living by dotting the corners with 94-95 mph sinkers.

But when the New York Yankees' reliever tried to toss his PitchCom device into the dugout, he couldn't even keep it from sailing into the stands.

“I’m not used to throwing a rectangular little piece of electronics,” King said with a smile.

Working in the ninth inning of a one-run game Tuesday night against the Baltimore Orioles, the right-hander was having trouble getting on the same page with catcher Ben Rortvedt when it came to their PitchCom signals.

“The one that I got didn’t work. I don’t know if it just wasn’t activated or what,” King said. “It just happened where I was hitting slider at the same time that Ben was hitting sinker. So every time I hit a slider, it was coming through as sinker.”

After striking out Ryan McKenna leading off the inning, King decided to ditch his PitchCom device. He took it off his belt and threw it toward the Yankees' bench, but it ended up being snagged by a woman in the seats between the dugout and home plate.

“I got nervous ‘cause I know you can call time for PitchCom, but I didn’t know if you could do it for a transmitter malfunction. So I just took it off and chucked it," King said. "I thought it was definitely going to land in front of our dugout, and then it kind of took off like a frisbee and I saw it floating. And then I saw it almost hit a fan. And then, apparently they were hitting the button. Luckily it wasn't working.”

A security guard or usher retrieved the device and walked it across the front row before giving it to someone in the New York dugout.

“We did get it back,” manager Aaron Boone said.

King went on to work two hitless innings, striking out three in his first victory of the season as the Yankees rallied to win 6-5 in 10 innings.

Little did he know that a Major League Baseball memo in April 2022 informed teams that "Clubs are responsible for their PitchCom devices. Any Club that loses a transmitter or receiver will be charged a replacement fee of $5,000 per unit.”

“I had no idea," King said.

Think the Yankees would have sent him the bill if a replacement was required?

“I would hope not," King said with a grin. “I’m very happy that (we got it) back then.”

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AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.

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