Yoenis Cespedes explains not retrieving ball wedged in wall
New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes committed a gaffe for the ages during Wednesday’s spring training game against the Houston Astros that ultimately resulted in an inside-the-park home run.
Astros first baseman A.J. Reed lined a ball into center field that went over Cespedes’ head and ultimately became wedged under the outfield wall. As Cespedes stood there refusing to retrieve it, Reed casually rounded the bases for one of the more unconventional round-trippers one will ever see.
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Cespedes insisted after the game he shouldn’t have had to retrieve the ball, arguing the play should have been ruled a ground-rule double.
“The ball fell under the fence,” Cespedes said through an interpreter, via ESPN. “It got wedged in there. For me, I couldn’t grab that. I thought that should have followed the ground rule and should have just been the double.”
The outfielder even attempted to plead his case to second base umpire C.B. Bucknor, who came out and promptly pulled the ball out from where it had become lodged.
“[The umpire] said, ‘You should be able to grab that,’ ” Cespedes said. “I said, ‘Of course I could grab that — if I stick my hand in there and pull it out, yes, I guess I could grab it.’ He stuck his hand in there and pulled it out. I could have done that as well. I just didn’t think that was what I needed to do.”
Mets skipper Terry Collins chalked up the incident to a simple misunderstanding.
“He thought it got stuck,” Collins said, via NJ.com. “What had happened was the umpire went out and swiped the ball and said, ‘Okay, it wasn’t stuck underneath.’ It’s one of those things we could probably talk about a ground rule, which we don’t here in spring training too much. He thought the ball went under and stuck and just threw his hands up.
“We don’t have that ground rule necessarily. I’ve never talked about it in spring training, so it was just a misunderstanding more than anything.”
Whatever the case, it proved to be one of the odder scenes of spring training so far. And perhaps fittingly, given everything that has preceded it involving the Mets slugger this spring, Cespedes played an integral role in it.