WASHINGTON — The Chicago Cubs dropped their protest over the pitching delivery of Washington reliever Sean Doolittle.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon made the announcement before Sunday night’s game against the Nationals.
Maddon came out twice in the ninth inning of a 5-2 loss Saturday night to complain to plate umpire San Holbrook about Doolittle. Maddon said he believed the left-handed Doolittle was tapping his right toe on the ground before coming to the plate.
Cubs reliever Carl Edwards Jr. was informed at the end of spring training that his delivery, which featured a similar toe-tap, was illegal. That ruling miffed Maddon and the Cubs.
“The whole thing I really wanted to get done was to protect Carl,” Maddon said Sunday. “I really didn’t anticipate a whole lot to be done with (the protest) even though I still don’t agree with the conclusion because I think it’s exactly what Carl did, only a different version of it.
“But the point was, I would not be a good parent had I not spoken up for my guy.”
After being told Doolittle’s delivery was legal, Maddon announced the Cubs were playing the game under protest.
“He thought he was tapping his foot, which in itself is not illegal, and this all kind of stems from his pitcher being called on something that was a little bit different than what Doolittle was doing,” Holbrook said after the game. “So, in our judgement, Doolittle did nothing illegal at all.”
Maddon countered a bit Sunday.
“(Doolittle) actually tapped a couple of times. I think he tapped and he grazed. He did whatever,” Maddon said. “They’re saying Carl put his whole foot on the ground and that somehow is different. And that’s where I thought, semantically speaking, I just don’t agree.”
Doolittle, who retired the side in order for his eighth save in nine chances, said after the game he thought Maddon had a different motive for coming out.
“In that moment, he’s not trying to do anything other than rattle me and it was kind of tired,” Doolittle said. “I don’t know. Sometimes he has to remind people how smart he is and how much he pays attention to the game and stuff like that. He put his stamp on it, for sure.”
Maddon said Sunday he had no issue with Doolittle’s comments.
“We’re all emotional,” Maddon said. “I’ve said a lot of things I didn’t want to say years ago, even in this ballpark. But I think if he understood the entire context, he might have had a different opinion.”