Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Slade Cecconi made his Major League Baseball debut on Wednesday against the San Francisco Giants. Cecconi struck out the first batter he faced, LaMonte Wade Jr., getting an unusual (and likely painful) assist from his catcher, José Herrera.
Initially, it looked as though Cecconi’s 3-2 pitch hit Wade. The ball ran in close to Wade’s hands and umpire Gabe Morales awarded first base. But upon further review, that’s not what happened.
The pitch actually hit the knob of Wade’s bat. From there, it went into Herrera’s midsection. And while the catcher was likely not feeling great at that moment, he managed to pin the ball against his crotch. Effectively, it was no different than a foul tip on a would-be strike three. If the catcher can’t corral the ball, it’s a foul ball. If he does, it’s a strikeout. And, since the ball does not need to be in the glove to be caught, Herrera’s crotch catch was good enough.
"I've never seen it happen where it gets caught in a guy's crotch before. I guarantee that's not in the rulebook." pic.twitter.com/Di3E8y8ROA
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) August 3, 2023
Baseball fans had a lot to say about this play.
Ball 3 … https://t.co/8QQFV6eRfu
— Espo (@Espo) August 3, 2023
When “ball three” is also strike three. https://t.co/LP8INTheFq
— Pointless X-ercise (@desipiodotcom) August 3, 2023
When 3-balls = and out https://t.co/h8m730h6rK
— Joe Hughes (@VegasJoeHughes) August 3, 2023
That's quite a definition of glove. https://t.co/VqHw5Ffo9i
— James (Bucky) Dent (@writingump) August 3, 2023
Slade Cecconi will never forget his 1st career K. 😂 pic.twitter.com/uFB5pYABW9
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 3, 2023
Rule 5.09(a)(2) Comment clarifies that so long as the catcher is able to catch it before it hits the ground (or the umpire without getting lodged in his equipment or clothing), it is a catch even if he uses his body to help gain control of it.
Unorthodox, yet still an out.
— Brian Cox (@BCox5503) August 3, 2023
Catchers have been known to do just about anything to get a strike for their pitchers. Still, we feel confident in assuming that Herrera would rather stick to more conventional pitch framing in the future.
[Photo Credit: NBC Sports Bay Area]