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Some MLB teams ready to seek checks for foreign substances

Jul 11, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Tim Mayza (58) grips the ball before a pitch against the Atlanta Braves during the fifth inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

At least three major league teams will ask umpires to check opposing pitchers for foreign substances if use is suspected, ESPN reported Sunday.

Until now, there has been what ESPN called “a gentlemen’s agreement” among managers to look the other way. But now, with Major League Baseball umpires being instructed to enforce the rules against foreign substances starting Monday, some teams apparently are ready to use the rule to their advantage.

Umpires could be asked for checks if managers are told, for example, that a video suggests the opposing pitcher is using something he shouldn’t.

It’s something managers have been hesitant to do in the past, even with suspicions, out of fear their pitchers would be checked. But those days are changing, one “high-ranking talent evaluator” told ESPN.

“We’ve been telling our pitchers that if they have been using, they need to stop,” the evaluator said. “We are looking to level the playing field. The whole sport is looking to level the playing field. We have an expectation our guys will honor the rule. If we get an indication that there’s someone pitching for the other team who might be doing something to gain a competitive advantage, yes, we will want our manager to challenge that.”

Staff members from two other organizations shared the same thoughts with ESPN.

Under MLB’s new standards, pitchers will face inspections even if they are not requested. If found with foreign substances to assist with grip on the ball, such as pine tar or sunscreen, the pitchers will be ejected and given a 10-game suspension.

–Field Level Media