With Opening Day less than two weeks away, Major League Baseball is gearing up to keep the use of foreign substances out of the game.
As SI.com’s Tom Verducci reports, in the wake of pitchers supposedly finding ways to circumvent checks late in the 2021 season, MLB will further crackdown on its ban of sticky substances for the upcoming campaign.
Starting with this weekend’s spring training games and continuing throughout the regular season, umpires will now check a pitcher’s hand from top-to-bottom during their random between-innings inspections. Umps will also continue to investigate a pitcher’s hat, glove, and belt, as was the case last season.
A memo sent to clubs on Friday stated, “If an umpire’s inspection reveals that the pitcher’s hand is unquestionably sticky or shows unmistakable signs of the presence of a foreign substance, the umpire will conclude that the pitcher was applying a foreign substance to the baseball for the purpose of gaining an unfair competitive advantage.”
If such a case arises, the result will be an automatic ejection and likely suspension. Another interesting wrinkle is that a pitcher may also be ejected and suspended if the umpire sees him wiping his hands off before the inspection. Catchers and position players will be subject to the same rules.
FanDuel Sportsbook currently has the Los Angeles Dodgers as early World Series favorites at +470 odds.
The post MLB to Further Crackdown on Use of Foreign Substances first appeared on SportsGrid.