Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer is under investigation by MLB as a result of suspicious substances found on baseballs from his last start, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
Umpires in Bauer's last start collected multiple balls he threw during the game and sent them to the league office for further inspection. The balls reportedly had "visible markings and were sticky."
Bauer responded to the report on Twitter:
"Lol always fun reading desperate and misleading clickbait headlines from national gossip bloggers. To translate fake journalist speak for y’all, “It’s unclear whether” = “I can’t be bothered to look into this cuz it doesn’t fit my narrative.” wonder where the articles about balls from every other pitcher being taken out of play in literally every other game this season are? Also lol to MLB who already has “sources” talking to gossip bloggers about a supposedly confidential process a week into the season thumbs up y’all keep killin it!"
The 30-year-old struck out 10 batters against the Oakland Athletics, allowing two runs and three hits in 6.2 innings.
This action by MLB comes after the league sent a memo saying it would step up monitoring and enforcement against pitchers using foreign substances on baseballs.
The March 23 memo indicated MLB will use Statcast data to analyze change in spin rate from pitchers. Bauer criticized this approach at the time, saying pitchers won't selectively use foreign substances:
According to Rosenthal, Bauer's spin rate was not in question, but instead the balls were brought to the attention of the umpire.
Bauer signed a three-year, $102 million deal in the offseason and is set to make $38 million this season as the second-highest paid player in baseball, per Spotrac.
The former Cleveland and Cincinnati Reds pitcher won the NL Cy Young award last season when he led the league with a 1.73 ERA and a 0.795 WHIP. His 12.3 strikeouts per nine innings were a career high, while his ERA was significantly lower than his career mark of 4.04 through his first eight seasons in the majors.
Bauer could face discipline if MLB determines he used an illegal substance, but the players' association could also challenge a ruling. It could also be difficult for the league to prove Bauer was responsible for applying said substance.