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Unusual no-pitch ruled on Dotel in Weeks' at-bat

Unusual no-pitch ruled on Dotel in Weeks' at-bat

Unusual no-pitch ruled on Dotel in Weeks' at-bat
ST. LOUIS -- Call it some gamemanship displayed by Cardinals reliever Octavio Dotel in the seventh inning of Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on Thursday night. The umpires called it something else -- basically an attempt to quick pitch.

Ultimately, a timeout was called.

In an intriguing game-within-the-game scenario, third-base umpire Gary Darling waved off what the Cards initially thought was an inning-ending strikeout of the Brewers' Rickie Weeks. The play didn't impact the outcome of Milwaukee's 4-2 win at Busch Stadium. But it was a moment that created some awkward controversy.

The Dotel-Weeks showdown came with two outs in the seventh inning with Prince Fielder on first. In a two-strike situation, Weeks clearly called time out. It was granted by home-plate umpire Mike Everitt and acknowledged by second-base umpire Mike Winters.

"They were calling time out. I didn't know," Dotel said. "I didn't hear them call time out. I threw the pitch, and there was a timeout."

Zoned into the moment, Dotel was focused on the situation, blocking out distractions and 45,606 cheering, towel-waving fans.

Dotel stayed set on the rubber, separated his throwing hand from his glove, and then waited for Weeks to step back in. Immediately, Dotel threw a pitch, which was initially called strike three.

Even before the pitch was thrown, Darling -- from his third-base post -- began waving time, because Dotel didn't reset his stretch. Dotel and the Cardinals were walking off the field thinking the inning was over. However, a no-pitch was ruled. Manager Tony La Russa trotted out for an explanation.

Basically, Dotel quick-pitched Weeks.

"I was trying to be quick, because Weeks kind of stayed a little longer in the batter's box," Dotel said. "And I wanted to take advantage of that. I guess they didn't let me."

Weeks stepped back in and, on the next pitch, Dotel struck him out swinging. This time, it counted.

According to MLB Rule 8.01: The pitcher, following his stretch, must (a) hold the ball in both hands in front of his body and (b) come to a complete stop. This must be enforced. Umpires should watch this closely.

The veteran Dotel said he never had an experience like that, where he had a pitch waved off as he was heading off the field, thinking he had recorded a strikeout.

"I've not had that situation, but I understand," Dotel said. "And I'm ready for those little things."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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