Arizona Diamondback assistant Ariel Prieto did not use a smartwatch for baseball-related purposes during his team’s win over the Colorado Rockies in the National League Wild Card game on Wednesday, an MLB probe concluded.
Investigators “forensically examined” Prieto’s Apple Watch and cell phone, along with interviewing the D-backs coach/interpreter, and found “no evidence” he had used it or had any other baseball-related communication on any device, according to a statement released by the league on Friday.
The league, however, did find Prieto to be in violation of the league’s on-field regulation banning such devices in the dugout.
“As a result, Mr. Prieto and the D-backs have each been fined an undisclosed amount,” according to the statement.
The fines will be donated by the Office of the Commissioner to hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.
New York Post columnist and MLB Network Insider Joel Sherman first reported about the investigation after the newspaper had been sent a photo of Prieto wearing the watch in question in the dugout during Wednesday night’s one-game playoff series at Chase Field in Phoenix.
The violation comes on the heels of a sign stealing controversy in September between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred issue the Red Sox a fine of an undisclosed amount of money for violating the league rules by using an Apple Watch to decode Yankees signals.
At the time, Manfred issued a warning to the remaining clubs that more “serious sanctions” could follow with future violations.
“All 30 Clubs have been notified that future violations of this type will be subject to more serious sanctions, including the possible loss of draft picks,” Manfred said in a release on Sept. 15.
The Diamondbacks eliminated the Rockies from the postseason with an 11-8 win despite a furious rally late from Colorado.
Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @johnnyhart7.
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