Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Rodolfo Castro was suspended for one game and fined by Major League Baseball on Tuesday after a cell phone flew out of his pocket mid-slide during an Aug. 9 game, prompting an investigation that cleared him of further wrongdoing, sources told ESPN.
Castro, a 23-year-old rookie, received the suspension -- which he is appealing -- for violating the league's policy against bringing unapproved electronic devices onto the field. MLB examined the activity on Castro's phone and found no evidence that it had been used during the game before the incident, sources told ESPN.
That distinction, sources said, was important. Multiple executives expressed fear that if MLB did not come down with a severe punishment on Castro, it would not be doing enough to discourage players from using cell phones to receive signals during the game. The postgame forensic analysis on Castro's phone illustrated how MLB plans to approach violations of a policy that was in place before the Houston Astros' cheating scandal but now carries far more resonance.
Following the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks during which Castro's phone popped out of his pants during a head-first slide into third, he told reporters that it was a mishap, not something more nefarious.
"I just really want MLB to hear my version of the story and make sure they understand my heart behind everything," Castro said through an interpreter before the Pirates' game Tuesday night against the Boston Red Sox. "None of this was intentional, I didn't mean for any of this to happen."
Castro said he put an oven mitt-like sliding glove in his pocket and forgot about the phone. Now in his second season with Pittsburgh, Castro is hitting .239/.300/.402. During his debut in 2021, Castro set a major league record when his first five big league hits -- spread out over six games -- were all home runs.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.