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Buffalo Bisons coach has a special sign to signal reliever Mike Zagurski

Mike Zagurski with the Pirates last year.
Mike Zagurski with the Pirates last year.

When I watch a baseball game on TV, I get very excited when I start to catch on to the various hand signals the catchers and coaches use to communicate various plays. I'm not able to elucidate the meaning of every tap or scratch or finger wiggle, but sometimes I do recognize the calls for a pickoff, or steal, or bunt. Most of the time the meaning of these signs aren't clear, but in this one instance, it was obvious.

Today when Sportsnet's Shi Davidi reported that Ricky Romero had undergone knee surgery and will be out for the next six weeks at least, I went back to his last game, a start against the Syracuse Chiefs on June 1, when he was taken out in the top of the fourth.

The pitch obviously didn't reach the plate--in fact it bounced off the dirt and hit the batter (Brandon Laird), who was credited with an hit-by-pitch. Romero did look like he was feeling some pain after the pitch, but it wasn't like he crumpled down to the ground, rolling around, or anything. But out from the dugout came pitching coach Randy St. Claire and trainer Voon Chong. After taking to Romero for a bit, manager Gary Allenson joined the conference and it was decided that Romero should leave the game.

Since no one was warming in the bullpen at the time, St. Claire couldn't just hold up his left or right hand to indicate which reliever he wanted to come in. So he did this:

Since there were no pregnant left-handed pitchers on the Bisons roster at the time, the curved motion he made over his abdominal area probably meant "fat." And the Bisons had just acquired a big reliever in their bullpen just five days earlier: Mike Zagurski. And to help out the new guy, Randy St. Claire used a very obvious sign to call him into his first game as a Bison.

Welcome to the team, Mike. You're fat.