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Yankees' Gerrit Cole Sidesteps Whether He Uses Foreign Substance 'Spider Tack'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJune 9, 2021

Adam Hunger/Getty Images

New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole on Tuesday evaded a question about whether he has ever used the substance Spider Tack to help improve the spin rate on his pitches.

"There are customs and practices that have been passed down from older players to younger players, from the last generation of players to this generation of players," he said. "I think there are some things that are certainly out of bounds in that regard, and I've stood pretty firm in terms of that, in terms of the communication between our peers and whatnot."

Minnesota Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson called out Cole on Friday, suggesting the Yankees pitcher was potentially using a foreign substance to improve his performance.

"Is it coincidence that Gerrit Cole's spin rate numbers went down [Thursday] after four minor leaguers got suspended for 10 games?" Donaldson asked reporters. "Is that possible? I don't know. Maybe. At the same time, with this situation, they've let guys do it."

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Major League Baseball has begun to crack down on the use of outside substances.

Trevor Bauer has also suggested in the past that he believes the only way pitchers can drastically improve their spin rates is through the use of foreign substances and that Cole might have been one of those players after he joined the Houston Astros.

He even trolled Cole in March 2020 while talking on the subject:

"You know [Astros pitching coach] Brent Strom and those guys over there have a lot of different tips when it comes to spin. When he was with the Cardinals and everyone talked about going east and west, then he finally got over to Houston and got control of the reins a little bit and started talking about going north and south. People act like it's a new thing, but it's not a new thing."

What was the troll? Well, Cole had recently made nearly identical comments while defending why his spin rate had increased so much in Houston.

"I don't know who is creating [sticky stuff] or who is creating those rumors," he added at the time. "I feel like there are a lot of different ways to increase spin rate. I have done it for two consecutive years chasing some of the principles I learned over there on how you spin the ball."

He wasn't as willing to deny the use of outside substances Tuesday, however.

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