Lash month, the MLB had announced that from April onwards, they were ready to start a crackdown on pitchers who were suspected of doctoring the baseballs, that is applying any kind of foreign substances.
And now, their first subject of scrutiny is Log Angeles Dodgers star Trevor Bauer, whose name is not alienated to the idea of ball-tampering in the American baseball scene as he is one of the most outspoken in the league on the topic.
Umpires sent Trevor Bauer’s balls from Athletics game to the MLB for inspection
A report made by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic revealed that following the clash against the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday, the umpires had collected several balls that Bauer pitched during the game.
The memo that MLB vice-president of on-field operations Michael Hill had sent to the high-ranking officials of all of the 30 league teams back on 23rd March, stated that the commissioner’s office was going to analyze changes in spin rates of pitchers with Starcast data and to draw a comparison to that of the pitchers’ normal career spin rates.
According to rule 6.02, a pitcher shall neither “apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball” nor “have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance.” The memo stated that players will be subject to discipline “regardless of whether evidence of the violation has been discovered during or following a game.”
Although on Wednesday, the suspicion that fell on Bauer was not from the Starcast data, but rather the attention of the umpires who decided to collect and send the balls to inspection.
Sources claimed that the collected balls were sticky and were also carrying some visible marks. They were sent to MLB officials to conduct further inspections but an official report respond from the league is yet to arrive.
All that being said, it is yet not known what action the league will take in case the suspicion on Bauer turns out to be true, as the memo last month did not specify the consequences a pitcher will face.
It can be assumed that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred may impose a hefty fine on Bauer or put him on suspension for some time, but there’s a catch to the inspection because it will be a toiling task to prove that it was indeed Bauer who had applied the foreign substances to the ball.
It would be interesting to see if Bauer himself had doctored the ball, because the 30-year-old himself had railed at Houston Astros back in 2018, claiming that their pitchers were using foreign substances on the balls.
The player, however, took to Twitter to respond to the news, terming the reports of ball doctoring “misleading clickbait headlines” by “gossip bloggers.”