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07/15/11 7:35 PM ET

Martin blames himself if Blue Jays knew signs

TORONTO -- Yankees catcher Russell Martin claimed the Blue Jays were relaying signs on Thursday, Toronto skipper John Farrell said he wasn't aware of it, and Yankees manager Joe Girardi had no comment.

Here's one thing they all agreed on, though: Stealing signs is part of baseball.

It has been since the dawn of the game. And in essence, if a team's signs are simple or obvious enough that they can be picked up, then it's that team's fault for making them so. All the sign-stealing team is doing is utilizing an advantage laid out to those players.

That's how Martin sees it.

"The reason why you put multiple signs down is so they're not able to relay, and that type of stuff," Martin said. "There's a reason why you just use one when there's nobody on, and multiple when there's people on."

Martin says the Blue Jays were relaying his signs from second base since the start of their eventual 16-7 win, with the runner turning his head one way for a fastball and the other way for an offspeed pitch. It finally clicked for him in the fourth, when he called timeout, switched them up, and Hector Noesi got Aaron Hill to strike out on a curveball in the dirt.

Girardi didn't comment when asked if the Blue Jays were relaying signs, but gave the impression that they're always cautious with them.


"I'm unaware of us stealing signs or relaying location from second base," he said. "Maybe from [Martin's] vantage point -- and knowing what pitch is being called or the location which they're going to -- there might be the feeling that something is being relayed, but we certainly don't see it from the dugout."

Whether they were or not, Martin -- who often did the same in college -- made one thing clear.

"I'm not bothered by it," he said. "I was more angry at myself for figuring it out too late and changing them too late. The game was almost out of hand at that point."

Martin said the Blue Jays are one of those clubs that are known for stealing signs, and Girardi said it's usually the division rivals that are known to do that since they see so much of each other (the fact Farrell was previously a pitching coach for the Red Sox might factor in, too).

"There's some teams that are better at it than others," Martin said. "The good teams, you'll never know when they're relaying them, just because of how they're relaying them. There are so many things that you can do on second base that I'd never be able to pick it up. There, it was just so obvious I picked up on it."

Girardi is a former catcher and Farrell is a former pitcher, so both are well schooled in the art of relaying signs. Girardi says you look for how a hitter's front foot reacts, whether they bail out on inside pitches and what kind of swings they take.

And barring something extreme -- like cameras being set up in center field or binoculars in the bullpen -- they believe it's all fair game.

"To me, it's not cheating, because you're studying something, you're looking for signs," Girardi said.

"That's why every pitcher usually has two or three different sets of signs, and, typically, we'll be able to change on the fly if something like that is sensed," Farrell added. "I wouldn't make too much out of it."

But some teams do.

Some clubs would retaliate by throwing inside the next day, or even pegging guys, if they knew a club was stealing their signs.

"They're lucky that that's my mindset, of me wanting to change them because it's my fault," Martin said. "But some other teams, guys can get drilled for that. I've seen it happen."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter. MLB.com reporter Gregor Chisholm contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.