Heyward's inquiry to Fowler raises eyebrows

Bumgarner questions whether Cubs trying to steal signs

Heyward's inquiry to Fowler raises eyebrows

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- From now on, Dexter Fowler says whenever Jason Heyward asks for a signal, Fowler will give him a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Heyward and Fowler got their signals crossed up with the Giants' Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey, who thought the two Cubs were stealing signs.

With one out in the Cubs fourth against Bumgarner in Thursday's 16-14 Cubs victory, Fowler was on second base and Heyward was called out on strikes for the second out of the inning. Heyward said it was a great pitch -- a front-door cutter -- but he wasn't sure if it was a strike.

"I looked out at second base to see what Dexter had -- 'What have you got, like ball or strike?'" Heyward said. "I thought it might have been around the plate. Either way, I'm out, I know that, bottom line.

"Next thing you know, I see Buster coming out of my periphery and [saying], 'Hey, hey, hey,'" Heyward said. "I was like, what's going on? Then I saw Madison. I wasn't looking out at anybody, I wasn't trying to show anybody up."

Heyward on Bumgarner

Bumgarner said Heyward didn't say anything to him.

"I thought he was looking at me or talking to me but he said he wasn't, so there was only one other person to be talking to -- that's down on second base," Bumgarner said. "[Heyward] looked like he was upset with [Fowler]. There's only one reason to be doing that."

Bumgarner thought Fowler was stealing signs, relaying them to Heyward, and had messed up.

"You might want to be a little more discreet about that if you want to do that kind of thing," Bumgarner said.

Boone's theory for the argument

But they weren't stealing anything.

"I think it was a misunderstanding," Heyward said. "[Bumgarner's] a gamer. He wants to go out there and be in every big spot for his team; he's shown that in the regular season and postseason. It's a misunderstanding. No tipping of the signs. I understand people would say, 'They wouldn't tell us anyways.' Believe it or not, that wasn't going on."

Fowler on Heyward's exchange

Told that Bumgarner thought Heyward and Fowler should be more discreet, Heyward laughed.

"Dexter was so discreet, I was still waiting for a response," Heyward said.

"The moral of the story," Fowler said, "is I'm going to go like this."

And Fowler gave a thumbs-up.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.