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Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval (48) was benched before the start of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves on June 18, 2015
Jon Barash—AP

We’ve all done it: in a moment of down time, waiting for the train or between tasks at work, you pull out your phone and read e-mail, check Facebook, flip through Instagram, so habitually that it’s almost a reflex. It turns out that major league baseball players do it, too—but then they pay the price.

Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval fell victim on Wednesday during his team’s 5-2 loss to Atlanta. While the game was in progress, Sandoval returned to the team’s clubhouse and “liked” a photograph on Instagram, ESPN reports.

MLB Standards and On-Field Operations Regulations include a rule prohibiting players (as well as personnel and clubhouse/equipment staff) from “using cellular phones, including any type of portable or mobile phone, laptop, texting device or similar portable equipment while on the bench, in the bullpens or on the playing field once batting practice has begun.” That precludes social media, of course.

Sandoval told ESPN that he had met with the team’s manager and general manager and apologized. “I know I f—ed up,” he said. “I’m a human being, I made a mistake, so I apologize to my teammates.”

He admitted to being aware of the rule against cellphone use during games but said, “I was in the bathroom, I pushed it at the wrong time. … I just grabbed my phone and checked it.”

Sandoval will return to the Red Sox line-up on Thursday, as the team faces off against the Kansas City Royals.


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