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Sign-stealing accusation fuels tension between Angels and A's

The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees aren’t the only teams involved in a sign-stealing beef. Wednesday’s game between the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland A’s nearly turned hostile when Angels catcher Juan Graterol accused more than one A’s player of peaking at his position in an attempt to steal pitch locations.

The incident seemingly popped up out of nowhere in the fourth inning with Oakland’s Matt Chapman at the plate. In reality, the tension had been building for a couple innings, leading to Chapman taking exception to Graterol for questioning him after he previously questioned teammates Mark Canha and Chad Pinder.

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Here are a few more details courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser:

Graterol and Oakland outfielder Mark Canha had exchanged words in the second inning with Khris Davis at second base and Chapman at first, leading to speculation that perhaps the Angels thought baserunners were stealing signs. Home-plate umpire Mike Everitt got between Canha and Graterol, and on the television replay, Everitt can be heard telling the Angels’ dugout that there were accusations of stealing signs. One scout at Wednesday’s game said he believed the Angels to be stealing signs during the top of the second inning.

When Chapman came up, he said something to Graterol, Graterol sprang to his feet and Everitt immediately separated them, then went to Chapman and had what appeared to be some firm words for him.

Chapman was ejected for his role in escalating the incident, which came just a few pitches after Khris Davis connected for his AL-leading 39th home run.

A’s rookie Matt Chapman is tossed from the game by home plate umpire Mike Everitt after Chapman argued with Los Angeles Angels catcher Juan Graterol. (AP)

Warnings were issued to both benches but there were no additional issues on the field. Of course, that doesn’t mean both teams weren’t still fired up about it after the A’s held on to their 3-1 victory.

Here’s how Angels manager Mike Scioscia and starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs attempted to clarify their position:

Not surprisingly, both Chapman and Canha told a different story.

This isn’t to say the A’s definitely weren’t stealing signs. If anything though, it seems the Red Sox getting caught stealing signs electronically, which will undoubtedly be punished by the league, might have some teams on edge.

As Slusser notes, sign-stealing without electronic aid is not against the rules, but when suspected it often leads to situations like the one we saw play out in Oakland. Since the teams don’t play again this season, this is probably the last we’ll hear of the beef this season. But it will be interesting to see if the hard feelings carry over into 2018.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!