Mets complain to MLB about Dodgers' use of electronic device

NEW YORK - The New York Mets have alerted Major League Baseball to the Los Angeles Dodgers' use of electronic technology in an effort to prepare their players for proper defensive positioning.

"I don't want to make it more than it was, but we observed some members of the Dodgers organization using technology to establish defensive positions, presumably for use during the game," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Saturday. "We weren't sure that was appropriate. But Major League Baseball is going to look at that issue. So I don't really have any further comment."

The Dodgers did not deny using something similar to a global positioning system (GPS), or a laser range finder similar to what might be used during a round of golf, to establish points on the outfield, but flatly denied that electronic assistance is used during games.

"No. 1, we do a lot with analytics and preparing our fielders," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "And so as far as a laser in-game, that has never been the case nor will it ever, unless it is allowed by Major League Baseball, which I don't foresee. So this is something where, before a series, (we do) to help place our outfielders with depth."

At home, the Dodgers also paint small marks on the outfield to establish a central point in each of the three outfield positions. Roberts said other teams have also asked the Dodgers if they can paint marks on the Dodger Stadium outfield, and added that those requests have been granted.

But when the Dodgers asked the Mets for permission to paint marks on the Citi Field outfield for this weekend's three-game series, that request was denied.

"We had gotten the report they were painting spots on our outfield, which they do in Dodger Stadium," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We just went out to check them. We didn't find anything. You just don't go paint somebody else's field."

Roberts said he had no issue with the Mets declining their request.

"They declined, which is their prerogative, so we made other adjustments," Roberts said. "There is no range finder during the game. There is no threat to mess up the field and dig up their field. It's something that in baseball, where positioning has become a top priority, everyone is doing it. People have used it at our place. We're really not thinking too much of it."

The Mets and Dodgers agreed that proper defensive positioning is a matter of importance.

"Look, defensive positioning is a big part of the game these days," Alderson said. "But nobody said that baseball needs to make it easier to make sure that kind of positioning is as precise as possible. So, from my standpoint, everybody has the same opportunity to position their players. But marking the field seemed to go beyond the rule book."

Dodgers outfielders also consult laminated cards in their back pockets in order to position themselves properly for each hitter. Dodgers outfielder Trayce Thompson said the card only has basics like whether or not a hitter should be positioned straightaway, slightly to pull or slightly to the opposite field.

After the first time through the lineup, Thompson says he rarely consults his card. Howie Kendrick was recorded on video consulting his card in the Citi Field outfield Friday night, with that video drawing considerable attention on social media. The reason it seemed to cause such a stir is because Kendrick was accused of looking at his cell phone during the game.

"It's getting out of hand; I'm not even going to comment on the phone thing," Roberts said. "It's a positioning card that (first-base coach) George (Lombard) works really hard on preparing the outfielders. So instead of looking like an air-traffic controller from the bench, it's just a reference for the outfielders to use to be in the right spots versus a particular hitter."

Upon seeing reporters approaching Saturday, Kendrick said he did not have a comment for any questions of defensive positioning or playing in the outfield.

"If they think I have a cell phone, let them think I have a cell phone," Kendrick said.