New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole explained why he hesitated Tuesday when he was asked if he ever used the substance Spider Tack to help improve the spin rate on his pitches.
"I hesitated yesterday on the specificity of the question because I just don't think this is the forum to discuss those kinds of things," he told reporters Wednesday after his team's 9-6 win over the Minnesota Twins.
The explanation came after he danced around the question Tuesday by saying, "I don't quite know how to answer that, to be honest. ... If MLB wants to legislate some more stuff, that's a conversation that we can have."
Cole was under the spotlight when it came to the issue of pitchers using sticky substances to improve their spin rate after Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson mentioned him specifically Friday.
"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."
Whether pitchers are bending and breaking the rules with such substances has become a predominant talking point around the league.
"This is baseball's dirty little secret, and it's the wrong time in the wrong arena to expose it," St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt told reporters in May after umpire Joe West confiscated relief pitcher Giovanny Gallegos' hat after inspecting it for substances.
In April, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported the league investigated baseballs from a game Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer took the mound because they had "visible markings and were sticky."
ESPN's Jeff Passan reported in March that MLB sent a memo prior to the season revealing it would crack down on substances this season.
Then on Saturday, ESPN's Buster Olney reported the league is finalizing a plan that could instruct umpires to randomly check for substances. The plan could also lead to punishments for violators.
As for Cole, he allowed two earned runs and five hits while striking out nine in six innings of work in Wednesday's win.