When the Royals are on defense, look into their dugout and you’ll see coach Rusty Kuntz positioning the outfielders. Here’s a guide to hand signs you’ll see Rusty use.
▪ Play straight up: A hand waved straight up and down in front of the chest.
▪ Bunch the gaps: Both hands making a squeezing motion.
▪ Move left or right: One hand pointing in the appropriate direction.
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▪ Come in: Both hands tapping the chest.
▪ Over and in: One hand on the chest for in, the other hand pointing in the desired direction.
▪ Move back: A hand waved behind the head. (This sign applies through the first eight innings, then it becomes something else: the sign for no doubles.)
▪ No doubles: In the ninth inning a hand waved behind the head means move back even more; do not let anything land behind you. If a ball is hit over an outfielder’s head it should be a home run.
▪ Don’t dive for the ball: Two hands out in front like someone catching a football and then waving the hands back and forth in a “no thanks” gesture. After giving the no-doubles sign, the outfield coach might remind his players not to attempt a diving catch; they need to play it safe and keep the batter to a single.
▪ The runners will be going, throw the ball to second base: Used with two outs and a 3-2 count, a finger held straight up and circled in the air reminds the outfielders the runners already on base will get a good jump and throwing them out is unlikely. The runners will be going sign is followed by the throw the ball to second base sign and that signal is tapping a hand on top of the head.
▪ If you go left or right to field the ball, throw the ball to second base: Waving the fingers from side to side followed by tapping the top of the head.
▪ If it’s a deep fly ball, throw the ball to second base: Fingers pointed in the sky at a 45-degree angle, followed by tapping the top of the head.
Throwing the ball to second base ensures two things: with less than two outs it keeps the double play in order, and with two outs it keeps another runner out of scoring position.
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