Seattle Mariners pitcher Hector Santiago has become the first player disciplined under Major League Baseball’s crackdown on foreign substances that increase grip
NEW YORK – Seattle Mariners pitcher Hector Santiago became the first player disciplined under Major League Baseball’s crackdown on foreign substances to be handed a 10-game suspension on Tuesday.
Michael Hill, the former Marlins general manager who is the senior vice president of on-field operations, announced the penalty two days after Santiago was pulled out of a game at the Chicago White Sox. Santiago was also fined an undisclosed amount.
He appealed the decision to MLB Special Adviser John McHale Jr., and the suspension would be delayed until the appeal was decided.
Seattle manager Scott Servais insisted before Tuesday’s game against Toronto that there was no foreign substance on Santiago’s glove and that it was rosin.
“It was rosin and the rosin is behind the pitcher’s mound, so it’s not foreign. It’s not a foreign substance,” said Service. “So I’m somewhat surprised. But I understand what Major League Baseball is trying to do, they’re trying to create a level playing field, and understand why they decided to do it in the middle of the season.
Santiago, a 33-year-old left-hander, is in his 10th major league season, his first with the Mariners.
His suspension is with salary. Santiago’s contract calls for a salary of $700,000 in the major leagues and $150,000 in the minors.
As part of an action that began on June 21, all pitchers were being checked by umpires during play for illegal grip aids and Santiago was checked as he was out in the fifth inning.
Crew chief Tom Hallian then said that Santiago had been kicked out for “having a foreign substance that was sticky on the inner palm of his glove.” The pitcher said what the umpires found was a mixture of rosin and sweat.
Santiago started the season in Triple-A and made his league debut on June 1 with the Mariners. He is 1-1 with an ERA of 2.65 from nine matches.
During the suspension, Seattle will not be allowed to fill Santiago’s spot on their 26-man roster and will play a man during penalty serve.
Servais said in his history with Santiago – with both the Seattle and Los Angeles Angels – he found the pitcher to be a proponent of not using foreign substances with fellow players and using only rosin.
“When we’re doing the right thing, we’re following the rule and then lo and behold, something like this happens,” Servais said. “Again, it’s going through the appeals process and we’ll wait and see where it goes from there.”
Baseball officials, concerned about the offense, which fell to its lowest level in 50 years, previously noted the action on June 3, and Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the start date on June 15.
“It has become clear that foreign substance use has generally shifted from trying to get a better grip on the ball to something else – an unfair competitive advantage that is creating a lack of action and an uneven playing field,” he said. .
The average spin rate of pitches has declined since June 3.
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