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Toronto Blue Jays’ John Gibbons, MLB butt heads over translator mound visits

John Gibbons believes Major League Baseball has a problem with communication, not the Blue Jays.

For the second time in three games, the umpires took umbrage with the Toronto manager when reliever Seunghwan Oh entered the game to start the eighth inning and brought his Korean translator to the mound with him.

Eugene Koo was hired as the Blue Jays’ translator when Oh was signed as a free agent before the season.

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All year long, when Gibbons has called Oh from the bullpen, Koo has accompanied the pitcher to the mound so Oh can briefly converse with the catcher. The talks usually centre on pitching strategies.

But on Friday, when Oh entered the game, and again on Sunday, the umpires shooed Koo off the mound.

It is a major-league rule that the manager has to be on the mound for a translator to be present and that was not the case on Friday or Sunday.

Gibbons said it was all news to him, that Koo had been on the mound with the pitcher on plenty of occasions. When Koo was being ordered from the mound, Gibbons could be seen voicing his displeasure to the umpiring crew.

“That’s the first I’d heard of that,” Gibbons said after the game. “It’s happened many times this year, nobody’s said a word.”

“Unless it’s a really new rule within the last few days, it doesn’t happen before.”

Gibbons said he can accommodate the rule, adding he wasn’t really sure what “state secrets” Koo might be giving away when on the mound.

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After returning to the dugout, with the eighth inning about to resume, first-base umpire Bill Welke ejected Toronto first-base coach Tim Leiper, who then tossed some baseball gear onto the field in response.

Gibbons suggested afterward that the Leiper ejection was not connected to the situation involving Koo.

“He was frustrated with something,” Gibbons said. “Somebody looked at him or something.”

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