Seattle Mariners reliever Hector Santiago is the first pitcher to be ejected from a game since Major League Baseball's new crackdown on pitchers using foreign substances.
MLB umpires began spot-checking pitchers on June 21, but when Santiago was checked at the end of the top of the fifth inning, umpires confiscated his glove and threw him out of the game.
For years, major league pitchers have been using substances to help get a better grip on the ball. But in recent years, there has been talk of using even stickier things to increase the spin rate of a pitch which makes it more difficult to hit. Baseball's newest protocols are meant to deter exactly that, in a season that's seen a record seven no-hitters in just three months and a league-wide batting average of .239, the lowest in more than 50 years.
Santiago contests that the substances crew chief Tom Hallion's crew found on the glove were a combination of rosin, which pitchers are allowed on the mound, and sweat. He had used rosin to stop the sweat from dripping on both his arms on a humid day in Chicago.
“I think once they take it back and check, it’s just sweat and rosin,” Santiago said. “They’re going to inspect it and all this science stuff and it’s going to be sweat and rosin.”
MLB's handling of this sticky situation has been met with mixed reviews. New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso told reporters earlier this month that he was in favor of pitchers using whatever they need to get a grip on the ball, saying that he'd rather pitchers have control over the ball.
Santiago could face a 10-game suspension for the violation, but he does also have the option to appeal. If he is, he would be the first suspended under the new protocols.
Michal Dwojak of the Associated Press contributed to this report.