The right-hander left Monday’s start against the Chicago White Sox after just four innings of work, visibly looking uncomfortable on the mound.
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As Rays fans and the baseball world would find out in that press conference, part of the reasoning from Tyler Glasnow about his injury involves a much larger issue currently taking over MLB.
That issue? The use of foreign substances on baseballs, and it’s gotten to a boiling point according to the higher-ups within MLB.
Tyler Glasnow sparks an outcry in Major League Baseball
Over the course of the history of baseball, pitchers have been known to doctor baseballs in order to create more air drag, increase spin rates and gain a competitive advantage.
From sandpaper to Vaseline, pitchers have been known to use quite a wide array of substances. Teams and players league-wide have known this and it’s been an unwritten rule of the game to just let it go and keep playing baseball.
However, in recent years, sandpaper has turned into Spider Tack and pine tar, the substance of choice for batters to use to grip baseball bats. Spider Tack has gained recent traction, but it’s marketed toward powerlifters because it’s incredibly sticky.
We’ve seen media outlets report about this more in the past several months, but players have been vocal about it, most notably Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Trevor Bauer.
He and MLB do not have a great relationship as he’s considered a controversial figure, but he constantly pushes the buttons of the league, so much so that he’s admitted to using foreign substances on baseballs and will continue to do so until something happens.
Trevor Bauer has put this out on a plate for MLB to act upon, though there are other things surrounding the game that are as important, if not more important to worry about.
Regardless, we are at this point, and the boiling point for the league was reached as MLB released a memo on June 4, stating that the rollout of penalties for foreign substance use on baseballs was as soon as 10 days to two weeks.
Why Tyler Glasnow got hurt
This is where Tyler Glasnow comes back into the picture, saying in that press conference that he went cold turkey from using any foreign substance starting June 8, when he pitched against the Washington Nationals.
He admitted to using foreign substances on baseballs, using a mixture of sunscreen and rosin, something that he said helped him grip the ball better. Sunscreen and rosin are some of the most commonly used substances that give more to grip a baseball, than anything.
MLB baseballs have been altered several times in just the past few seasons to help increase, and then subsequently decrease, offense. Despite the balls being rubbed up pregame with mud, that wears off during the duration of the game, making it more difficult to grip.
On June 15, MLB sent out a league-wide letter saying that all foreign substances would be banned and pitchers who are caught using them would receive a 10-game ban. Umpires would check several times a game for any substances on baseballs and pitchers.
This is a great thing for leveling the playing field, but there’s a distinct difference between what Tyler Glasnow and many others use, and foreign substances like Spider Tack, pine tar, etc.
Trevor Bauer came back into the limelight on this issue after posting this video on his personal Twitter account.
Tyler Glasnow is 100% right about what he said that his grip changes, and the inability to grip the ball well partially caused his UCL injury. It doesn’t excuse the fact that he used it, but that’s the fault of MLB in the first place.
If the baseballs had some substance on them for pitchers to be able to grip them without having to use foreign substances, there wouldn’t be a problem.
If this policy was instituted before the season instead of during the season, pitchers, the supermajority of which use foreign substances because MLB has done nothing to prevent them from using it previously, could actually adjust to this before the season.
This was extremely short-sighted from MLB and has the potential to cause a number of pitcher injuries this season. Now, Tyler Glasnow’s season could potentially be over and the Rays will need to regroup and find arms to replace him in their rotation.
There really is no telling what’s going to happen next, but this issue isn’t going away anytime soon.