Roberts gives Hernandez pass for interview error

Sports

NEW YORK — During his playing days, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, he would not have volunteered to be interviewed on live television in the middle of a major league game.

But he doesn’t fault Los Angeles third baseman Kiké Hernández for making an error Friday night as he was speaking with broadcasters on the Apple TV+ telecast in the second inning at Yankee Stadium.

“I understand it’s part of sports now. And so unfortunately, Kiké made an error. It’s not the only error he’s ever made,” Roberts said Saturday. “It’s part of sports, so I’m not going to — I pick my battles.”

Hernández had a microphone and earpiece in his left ear as he spoke with Wayne Randazzo and former big league pitcher Dontrelle Willis on the broadcast. After talking about Hernández’s decision to wear colorful cleats and the atmosphere in the ballpark, there was one out, no one on and a 1-2 count on Gleyber Torres when Willis asked: “You guys are [a] very close-knit ballclub. Where does that come from?”

Torres hit a grounder to third, prompting Willis to say: “After this play.”

The ball hit Hernández on his bare right hand and ricocheted off his groin. By the time he recovered and threw to first, Torres had crossed the bag.

Roberts initially wasn’t aware Hernández was being interviewed while in the field. Asked if he went back and watched the exchange afterward, Roberts said: “No. God no. Hearing about it was plenty.”

And he has no plans to talk to Hernández about it.

“He prepares. I know he likes the limelight. He’s into the social media thing,” Roberts said. “He still plays hard, practices hard, but he also likes to build his brand, so I get it. I’m OK with it. He plays his butt off.”

Asked after the game whether the interview impacted him on the play, Hernández responded: “Maybe a little bit, but I think I let the ball eat me up. It 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.

Roberts said even that wouldn’t sway him if he were playing.

“To each his own,” he said with a smile.

Torres reached third on Trent Grisham’s two-out single but was stranded when Jose Trevino struck out. Los Angeles won 2-1 in 11 innings.

Hernández was back at third base Saturday night, batting eighth against New York Yankees left-hander Nestor Cortes.

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