- Andrew Marchand, ESPN Senior Writer
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TORONTO -- New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said his team needs to use multiple signs even when there is no one on base at Rogers Centre because the Blue Jays "could be" stealing signs using illegal methods.
"Sometimes we have inclinations that certain things might be happening in certain ballparks and we are aware of it and we try to protect our signs," Girardi said.
On Friday, in a 7-1 loss to Toronto, Girardi ordered catcher Russell Martin to put down multiple signs even when there was no one on base. Starter Freddy Garcia and Martin believed it threw off the pitcher's rhythm.
Martin believed the Blue Jays were stealing signs from second on Thursday, when Bartolo Colon lasted only two-thirds of an inning.
With no one on base, there is really no way to steal signs unless something off the field is occurring. Although it is conceivable a base coach could look in at the signs and relay them, the implication from Girardi is that the Blue Jays might be using an off-the-field technique.
Girardi says a runner at second relaying signs is within the code of the game. But if someone is using other means -- such as electronic equipment or binoculars -- that would be considered out of bounds.
"If you feel it is coming from somewhere else besides a player on the field, then I do have issues with it," Girardi said. "There are ballparks where you need to protect your signs. I don't want to really get into it because I'm not 100 percent sure about anything."
Blue Jays manager John Farrell said he did not know what Girardi was talking about.
"I don't have any idea what that comment would be stemming from," Farrell said. "I have no idea what that might be referring to.
"Honestly, why that would even come out, I don't know. We play this game to compete every day and we don't look to any other means than what takes place between the lines."
Entering Saturday, the Blue Jays had outhomered their opponents 205 to 123 in 121 games at Rogers Centre since the start of 2010. They'd outhomered their opponents 159-114 in 135 road games in that same span.
The runs-per-game disparity shows that the Blue Jays have averaged five runs-per-game at Rogers Centre since 2010, 4.4 on the road.
Girardi, a former catcher, also said that Garcia and Martin should have been able to change signs during innings without the catcher disrupting the rhythm by having to visit the pitcher's mound.
"I had a bunch of different ways to change signs without ever having to go to the mound," Girardi said. "But that seems to be the norm now. Catchers seem to go to the mound to change signs. We'll continue to talk about it."
Andrew Marchand covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from ESPN researcher Mark Simon was used in this report.
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