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Report: MLB Players Caught Using Foreign Substances Will Face 10-Day Suspension

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJune 15, 2021

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Major League Baseball is reportedly ready to implement punishments for players who are caught using foreign substances.

ESPN's Jeff Passan reported the league is expected to distribute a memo to its teams and then announce Tuesday that any players who use such substances will be suspended for 10 days with pay.

This comes as discussions of pitchers using substances such as Spider Tack and a combination of sunscreen and rosin to improve their control and spin rate have been prevalent throughout the season.

Two general managers told Passan that the league already sent teams reports of which pitchers have been caught, while other sources said MLB's enforcement of the rules will start June 21.

The league's players' association released a statement:

"The Players Association is aware that Major League Baseball plans to issue guidance shortly regarding the enforcement of existing rules governing foreign substances. We will communicate with Players accordingly once that guidance has been issued. We anticipate future discussions with the League regarding on-field issues, including the foreign substance rules and the baseballs themselves, as part of ongoing collective bargaining. Our continued focus will remain on fundamental fairness and player health and safety."

Passan noted the batting average across the league since June 3 as reports about future rule enforcement started surfacing is .247 compared to the .236 it was to that point. Spin rates on fastballs have also decreased across the league.

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There have been multiple high-profile situations this season regarding the topic of pitchers using substances, including when St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt told reporters in May, "This is baseball's dirty little secret, and it's the wrong time in the wrong arena to expose it."

That happened after umpire Joe West confiscated relief pitcher Giovanny Gallegos' hat during a game.

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

Cole was asked if ever used Spider Tack after that and didn't come up with a substantive answer:

Yankees Videos @snyyankees

Gerrit Cole on if he ever used Spider Tack while pitching:<br><br>"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" pic.twitter.com/2fR1AUeOQX

Stephanie Apstein and Alex Prewitt of Sports Illustrated spoke to former Los Angeles Angels visiting clubhouse manager Brian Harkins, and he said he provided substances for a number of pitchers, including Cole, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Corey Kluber and Adam Wainwright.

Harkins was fired in March 2020 after MLB determined he broke rules by giving players such substances.

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