Oddity follows Marlins reliever Carter Capps, who bends the MLB rule book with his idiosyncratic motion.
On April 10, Capps was removed from a Triple-A outing in the ninth inning after intentionally walking his first and only batter. The umpire said Capps’s throwing motion was illegal, which made every pitch he threw an automatic ball. Capps’s manager Andy Haines argued his case but was ejected. It was an odd inning for an odd player.
Often leaving his feet, Capps lunges off the rubber, hides the ball under his butt, and then slings the ball — typically past the batter.
Baseball! pic.twitter.com/vXZJjI8EAs— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) July 8, 2015
After the game, the Marlins asked the MLB to clarify whether there was a transgression. The league deemed his motion acceptable. Yet, the rule book says otherwise. When Capps takes his foot off the rubber, he’s technically breaking the MLB rule that states an illegal pitch is “a pitch delivered to the batter when the pitcher does not have his pivot foot in contact with the pitcher’s plate.’’ It’s a rule that every MLB pitcher breaks — but none so severe as Capps. Still, some throw the rule book out once the game hits the field.
“That delivery he’s got is unique to him, but it’s not illegal by any means,’’ Red Sox manager John Farrell said on Tuesday after Boston’s 4-3 win over Miami. “It’s unique, it’s unorthodox, but it’s certainly legal.’’
Major League Baseball might not agree. The league issued a friendly reminder to the Marlins that they’re watching Capps’s delivery, Marlins manager Dan Jennings confirmed to WEEI.com Tuesday.
Capps has become a fixture in the Marlins’ bullpen in late-May. Since then, he’s been raising eyebrows and dropping batters — his crow-hop delivery is stumping opponents.
“That was the strangest (delivery) I’ve ever seen,’’ Red Sox center fielder Mookie Betts told NESN.com on Tuesday.
Strange, funky, unique, unorthodox — it’s the rhetoric the Red Sox associated with the pitcher. Even Capps is willing to admit he’s an oddball.
“It doesn’t look pretty, obviously,’’ Capps said in April.
In theory, Capps’s motion makes his 99-mph fastball more difficult to hit. By lunging toward the batter, he’s cutting down the distance between his arm and home plate. Still, Xander Bogaerts made Capps look hittable by nailing a game-winning three-run single.
So long as Capps emphasizes lateral movement and doesn’t jump, he won’t face any issues with the league.
“They just said they wanted me to make sure I dragged my foot and not get too elevated in the air, and make sure it’s more on a lateral plane,’’ Capps told MLB.com. “As long as I do that, they have no problem with it.’’
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