In another blow to the New York Mets, pitcher Drew Smith has been suspended for 10 games by Major League Baseball after being found in violation of the league’s rules regarding the use of banned sticky substances.
This marks the fifth MLB pitcher and the second Mets player to face penalties for such infractions.
The announcement of Smith’s suspension came from MLB Senior Vice President for on-field Operations, Michael Hill.
Smith was ejected from Tuesday’s game against the New York Yankees without even throwing a single pitch, sparking controversy and leading to his subsequent suspension.
Smith has expressed surprise at the decision, stating, “They said both of my hands were too sticky. Really surprised because I haven’t done anything different all year. Sweat and rosin. I don’t know what else to say. Nothing changed. It’s just, I think the process is so arbitrary. It can change from one crew to the other, and I think that’s the main issue.”
The incident unfolded when Smith was subjected to a routine check by umpires as he reached the infield. Several umpires and teammates gathered around him, with Mets manager Buck Showalter joining the discussion.
Smith attempted to argue his case, presenting his pitching hand, but he was ultimately ejected by first-base umpire Bill Miller, who served as the crew chief for the game.
Explaining his decision, Miller stated to a pool reporter, “Drew Smith was ejected because he had sticky hands. I don’t know what’s on his hand; all I know it was sticky – sticky to the touch.. It stuck to my hands when I touched it. Not only his pitching hand, but his glove hand as well.”
Smith’s suspension means that the Mets will be short one player during the period of punishment. This comes as another setback for the team, as star pitcher Max Scherzer previously served a 10-game suspension after being ejected on April 19 at Dodger Stadium.
Scherzer had also claimed innocence, stating that it was a combination of sweat and rosin, which are not illegal substances.. He sounded off this latest the incident.
"I think we're all angry about this one. You feel his hand, you don't feel anything… he's been cleared by every other umpire, and now all of a sudden, he's getting thrown out."
Max Scherzer talks about Drew Smith's ejection and why pitchers need more grip: pic.twitter.com/XDBj7wHEoj
— SNY (@SNYtv) June 14, 2023
Mets manager Buck Showalter addressed the situation, saying, “I look in the mirror and go, ‘Okay, are we doing something wrong that we need to fix?’ That’s my first thing you got to look at. It’s like instead of it always being somebody else’s fault, somebody singling you out or picking you out. Are you doing something wrong?”
This incident follows similar cases within the league, as New York Yankees pitcher Domingo German was ejected and subsequently suspended for 10 games on May 16 for using a foreign substance on the mound.
The MLB began enforcing stricter rules regarding foreign substances in June 2021, resulting in suspensions for players such as the Seattle Mariners’ Hector Santiago and the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Caleb Smith for their use of illegal sticky substances.