The newest Major League Baseball rule change has quickly claimed its first victim. In Sunday’s doubleheader opener against the White Sox, Mariners pitcher Héctor Santiago was ejected in the fifth inning after umpires inspected his glove.
According to the MLB website, under the new guidelines, any pitcher who possesses or applies foreign substances in violation of the rules will be ejected from the game and automatically suspended. Starting pitchers will have more than one mandatory check per game, and the inspections will take place between innings or during pitching changes to give the umpires ample time to perform a thorough check without delaying the game.
Santiago was ejected from the game after giving up two walks and two hits in the inning, according to ESPN. The confiscation occurred during his first glove check. The glove was wrapped up in a bag to be shipped to New York and further inspected there under the new rule that went into effect Monday.
Umpire Tom Hallion said;
“He was ejected for when his glove was inspected, for having a foreign substance that was sticky on the inside palm of his glove.”
When speaking with reporters after the Mariner’s victory, Santiago defended his innocence confidently. He insisted that the only thing he used on his glove was rosin, and the stickiness could be attributed to the intense humidity.
“[Umpire Phil Cuzzi] said he felt some sticky stuff on the inside of the glove,” Santiago said. “All I used was rosin. I used it on both sides, trying to keep that sweat from dripping down to the hands…Once they take it back and check it, it’s just sweat and rosin. We’ll be all right.”
Daniel Kramer, a reporter covering Mariners news, tweeted this morning;
“The Mariners are confident that Héctor Santiago will not be suspended for 10 games as part of new protocols for grip-enhancing agents after he was ejected today.”
On the chance that the sticky substance is identified as a foreign and prohibited one, Santiago will face a possible 10-game suspension, and the Mariners will be unable to replace him on the roster during those games. If the substance is only rosin and sweat like Santiago claims, he will be cleared of any wrongdoing following the glove inspection.
Foreign substances used by pitchers has been against MLB rules for decades, but until now, it was generally not taken seriously, and as a consequence of that, pitchers have enjoyed far too much leeway and taken things too far. In response to this, the MLB announced that, starting this past Monday, umpires would routinely check pitchers’ gloves and have the ability to eject them if foreign substances were found.
The new enforcement of the old rule has found its first victim in Héctor Santiago. Will he be found guilty of using foreign substances on his glove, or will his innocence be proved upon further analysis? That is a question only time will tell.