The Sugar Land Skeeters became the first professional baseball team in Texas to utilize the Automated Ball-Strike System (ABS), which assists home-plate umpires in calling balls and strikes, during Tuesday’s home game against the Lancaster Barnstormers.
“This is a landmark day for the Atlantic League and professional baseball,” Atlantic League President Rick White said in a statement released by the league. “After successfully unveiling the ABS at our All-Star Game in York, Pa., and following positive feedback from managers, players, umpires and fans, we are eager to implement the consistent strike zone accuracy offered by ABS technology.”
Throughout the remainder of the season in the Atlantic League, all home-plate umpires will be assisted by the ABS, which uses radar technology to give a “reliable, precise, rule-book strike zone for pitchers and hitters,” according to the league. Umpires will still make judgment calls for certain ball-strike issues such as check swings while continuing to perform their other duties.
Use of the ABS is part of the three-year partnership between Major League Baseball and the Atlantic League, which tests experimental playing rules and equipment initiatives throughout its season and postseason.
Major league news
Former Skeeters infielder Ryan Court had his contract selected by the Seattle Mariners from Triple-A Tacoma, becoming the eighth player in Skeeters history to appear on a major league 25-man roster after appearing with the Skeeters.
Court appeared in eight games with the Skeeters this season, hitting .250/.379/.458 with a home run and four RBIs before being picked up by the Mariners on May 7. In 37 games this season with Tacoma, Court hit .279 with nine home runs and 37 RBIs.
Friday’s call-up was Court’s first to a major league 25-man roster.
Sugar Land released shortstop Ryan Jackson, pitcher Robbie Ross Jr. and centerfielder Willy Taveras. They placed pitcher Danny Reynolds on the 7-day injured list. The Skeeters signed free-agent pitchers Chase De Jong and Dan Runzler. Right-hander Joe Lienhard had his contract purchased by the Kansas City Royals. The Royals have assigned Lienhard to their Pioneer Rookie League affiliate in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
The Skeeters returned to Constellation Field on Monday for a seven-game series with the Lancaster Barnstormers. Friday is Masked Singer Night courtesy of FOX Broadcasting. The team is also celebrating eco-friendliness with Go Green Night featuring a metal straw giveaway for the first 1,000 fans, free parking for eco-friendly cars and a green-themed, postgame fireworks show. Saturday will feature a Deacon Jones bobblehead giveaway and a special Deacon-themed jersey auction. Kovu the Bat Dog will also perform Friday and Saturday.
Skeeter of the Week
Pitcher Chase De Jong made his Skeeters debut by throwing six scoreless innings to pick up the win in the first game of a double-header against the York Revolution.