Blue Jays accused of stealing signs again

TORONTO – While “Men In Black 3” is out in theatres, Jason Hammel wonders if he was treated to “Man In White 2” at the Rogers Centre on Wednesday night.

The Baltimore Orioles starter suggested there was something fishy about the way the Toronto Blue Jays attacked his off-speed pitches in a 4-1 victory, during which the right-hander surrendered four solo home runs.

“Honestly, with the fastball command, when you’re not locating your fastball, you’re going to give up some home runs there,” he said afterwards. “But the swings they were taking on the breaking stuff, it was pretty amazing to me.

“I don’t think you can take swings like that, not knowing they’re coming. I don’t know. That’s all I can say.”

Last August, a report by ESPN The Magazine citing four unnamed relievers accused the Blue Jays of partaking in a scheme to relay upcoming pitches to hitters from a man in the stands dressed in white. GM Alex Anthopoulos was unusually emotional and blunt in denying the allegations at the time, saying, “They don’t have their facts, I don’t think they did the homework they needed to do.”

The New York Yankees also accused the Blue Jays of stealing signs last season.

When asked if he was aware of the background, Hammel, who had been 4-0 with a 3.56 ERA in 10 games versus the Blue Jays before Wednesday, replied: “There’s rumours and things like that.”

“I don’t know,” he continued, “I can’t speak on that, but they were taking very big, strong hacks on breaking stuff. It’s something I’ve never seen before.”

Hammel allowed nine hits in all over 6.2 innings of work as the Orioles lost their fifth straight and eighth in 10 outings.

“They were taking some pretty big hacks on my breaking stuff, which leads me to believe something else,” he said. “It is what it is, I’ve got to get the ball down.”

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