Max Scherzer Not Appealing 10-Game Suspension After Foreign Substances Ejection From Start Against Dodgers

MLB suspended New York Mets ace Max Scherzer and fined him a reported $10,000 for “violating the prohibitions on foreign substances” during a start against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Scherzer decided not to appeal the suspension due to the process involving an MLB official and not an neutral arbitrator.

Scherzer was the subject of multiple sticky checks by umpire Phil Cuzzi, who believed a foreign substance was being utilized. Cuzzi initially instructed Scherzer to wash his hands and later to pitch with a new glove. Scherzer was ejected in the bottom of the fourth when umpires determined his hand was stickier than the check in the second inning.

“When Mr. Scherzer was inspected prior to pitching in the third inning, the umpires found that his pitching hand was clean, but found a sticky substance in the pocket of his glove, and Mr. Scherzer was told to replace his glove,” MLB senior vice president of on-field operations Michael Hill wrote.

“The umpires inspected Mr. Scherzer for a final time when he was walking to the mound to pitch in the fourth inning, and found that Mr. Scherzer’s throwing hand was even more glossy and sticky than it was during the second inning inspection, despite not yet even throwing a pitch.

“Based on the umpires’ training to detect rosin on a pitcher’s hands, they concluded that the level of stickiness during the fourth inning check was so extreme that it was inconsistent with the use of rosin and/or sweat alone.”

Although MLB permits the use of a universal rosin bag, it cannot be applied excessively, or to gloves or other parts of the uniform. Furthermore, players may not intentionally combine rosin with other substances, such as sunscreen, to create additional tackiness.

Max Scherzer explains sticky hand

Both during his conversations with Cuzzi and home-plate umpire Dan Bellino, and while discussing his ejection with reporters, Scherzer has been adamant the stickiness was merely a byproduct of rosin and sweat.

“So, after the second inning, my hand was a little clumpy from the rosin and sweat. It was clumpy. Phil told me to wash off, so I washed it off. I washed it with alcohol and went back out there,” Scherzer said.

“The alcohol, for a little bit there, can be sticky with rosin. That can happen. He was like, ‘That’s too sticky. You need to go back down there and wash it off again and re-apply the rosin.’ So I did that. And at the same time he felt my glove had too much rosin on it. I was like, ‘OK, that’s not a problem. There’s nothing going on.’

“He was like, ‘You need a new glove.’ So, OK. So I come back out and pith the third, and knew I was going to get checked in the fourth. I’d have to be an absolute idiot to try to do anything when I’m coming back out for the fourth. After that third inning, in front of the MLB official that’s underneath here, I wash my hand with alcohol in front of the official. I then apply rosin and I grab sweat.

“When I then go back out there, Phil Cuzzi says my hand is too sticky. Yes, when you use sweat and rosin, your hand is sticky. But I don’t get how I get ejected when in front of an MLB official, doing exactly what you want and being deemed my hand is too sticky when I’m using a legal substance. I do not understand that.”

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