Report: Pitchers caught using foreign substances to face 10-day suspension

In this Feb. 17, 2017, file photo, a baseball is shown on the grass at the Cincinnati Reds baseball spring training facility in Goodyear, Ariz. (Ross D. Franklin / AP)

In an effort to curtail the widespread use of grip-enhancing substances by pitchers, Major League Baseball is reportedly expected to announce on Tuesday that players caught using any foreign substance will face a 10-day suspension, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN.

Enforcement of the new policy in the majors is believed to be taking full effect June 21, Passan added.

The use of substances, ranging from the homebrewed combination of sunscreen and resin to Spider Tack, a kind of industrial glue some pitchers have used to generate more spin on the ball, is suspected to have spiked in recent seasons to increase spin rates on fastballs and make pitches harder to hit.

Under the new policy, an umpire catching a player using any of those substances will be penalizable.

Last week, a non-answer from New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole when asked if he had used sticky stuff invigorated the discourse on pitchers' use of substances, inciting wide-reaching debate about the best way for baseball to move forward.

“Just don’t single out guys,” Toronto Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said recently. “One rule for everybody, that’s all good. We’ve got to follow the rules and (once) that’s the rule for everybody it’s all good. As long as we don’t single out guys, I’m good with it.”

In the minor leagues, at least four pitchers have been suspended already this season after being caught using banned substances to doctor baseballs.

The last time a big-league player faced a suspension for a foreign substance was more than six years ago, and no pitchers have been suspended or fined for using illegal substances so far this season.

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