Astros' Pena misplays fly during in-game interview

NEW YORK — Houston Astros shortstop Jeremy Pena misplayed a fly ball in Friday night’s 7-2 loss to the New York Mets while participating in an in-game interview.

Peña was involved in an interview with Apple TV+ just before New York’s Jeff McNeil popped up toward the shortstop area with one out in the bottom of the second inning. Peña was shaded toward the second-base bag against the left-handed hitting McNeil and ranged to his right and was on the edge of the outfield grass close behind third baseman Alex Bregman. Neither Peña not Bregman put his glove up to make the play on the popup, and the ball landed between them.

“Holy …,” Peña said as the ball bounced once before he grabbed it and tossed it back to the infield. Peña and Bregman appeared to glance briefly at one another.

McNeil was credited with a hit and was picked off first base by pitcher Ronel Blanco two pitches into Harrison Bader’s at-bat. Bader struck out to end the inning.

Peña went on to contribute an RBI single in the third.

Peña is the second player in the past three weeks to misplay a ball while conducting an in-game interview, both with Apple TV+.

Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Enrique Hernandez was speaking with Dontrelle Willis in the second inning June 7 when a grounder by the New York Yankees’ Gleyber Torres hit Hernández on his bare right hand and ricocheted off his body. Hernández recovered and threw to first, but Torres beat the throw and Hernández was charged with an error.

Torres didn’t score, and the Dodgers won 2-1 in 11 innings. Afterward, Hernández said he didn’t blame the error on being distracted because the ball “had a weird hop.”

Hernández said he wouldn’t reconsider whether to do in-game interviews in the future.

“No, because we’re getting paid,” he said. “I like money.”

Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement calls for a player to receive a $10,000 stipend for wearing a two-way microphone for at least one inning of a regular-season game. The amount rises to $15,000 in the postseason.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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