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D-backs: Assistant who wore illegal smart watch made ‘honest mistake’

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Diamondbacks assistant coach Ariel Prieto is under scrutiny for appearing to wear a smart watch during Arizona’s Wild Card victory over the Rockies on Wednesday, the New York Post was first to report.

“Ariel Prieto has assured us that this was a simple oversight and honest mistake,” the team said in a statement Thursday. “The watch he wore last night was absolutely not used in any way related to our game and we will make certain prior to the NLDS that it will not be an issue again. Ariel takes full responsibility and feels terrible that this has been a distraction of any kind.”

Major League Baseball confirmed to ArizonaSports.com they were “looking into the situation.”

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo addressed the story Thursday.

Well, I can say is it was just an honest mistake. We asked, found out, and talked to Ariel, and that’s what he told us. And in no way did it impact the game, and in no way is it going to impact the game tomorrow. It’s just not something we do or believe in. We’re trying to steer our direction and steer our ship to tomorrow’s game.

So we’re aware of what’s going on and we’re cooperating. We’re doing exactly what MLB is asking us to do.

Teams were warned against using electronic devices such as smart watches a month ago, when the Boston Red Sox admitted to transmitting stolen signs into the dugout during a game against the rival New York Yankees.

They used an Apple Watch to relay signals from opposing catchers to Boston players, The New York Times reported. Sign stealing has long been a part of the game, but employing electronic gadgets to do it is against the rules.

The Times said the Red Sox told MLB investigators that Boston manager John Farrell, general Dave Dombrowski and other team executives were not aware of the operation, which had been going on for weeks.

The newspaper said video showed Boston assistant athletic trainer Jon Jochim checking his Apple Watch and relaying the info to Red Sox players Brock Holt and second baseman Dustin Pedroia. The newspaper said one clip showed Pedroia passing along the intelligence to Boston outfielder Chris Young, who formerly played for the Yankees.

The Associated press contributed to this story.


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