Domingo Germán: New York Yankees starting pitcher ejected; faces suspension for ‘extremely sticky’ substance

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New York Yankees starting pitcher Domingo Germán heads for the dugout after the third inning of the team’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays.


New York Yankees pitcher Domingo Germán was ejected from his team’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night after officials ruled he had an “extremely sticky” substance on his right hand.

In the bottom of the fourth inning of the Yankees’ eventual 6–3 victory, Germán was approached by first base umpire DJ Reyburn to inspect his hand.

“His hand was clearly shiny on his palm and fingertips, and it was extremely sticky,” team manager James Hoye told reporters after the game. “So (Reyburn) called me up and was like, ‘Hey, look at this.’ And the instant I looked at his hand, it was extremely shiny and extremely sticky. It’s the stickiest hand I’ve ever felt, and it’s the same with DJ.

“And so at that point we brought in John Libka, the second base umpire, and (third base umpire) Clint Vondrak, to check that all four of us had the same opinion. We all had the same opinion: shiny, extremely sticky and the worst hand we’ve ever felt in a game.

Germán denied the charges, insisting that he only used rosin from the bag near the mound.

“It was definitely just the bag of rosin,” Germán said through an interpreter. “It was sweat and the bag of rosin. I don’t need any extra help grabbing the baseball.

Rosin is the only sticky substance allowed in MLB. It is made from the sap of fir trees and pitchers use its powdered form in a white bag to help maintain grip on the ball and limit the amount of sweat on their hand.

According to the MLB website, television coverage appeared to show a dark substance on Germán’s pants near his right hip, although Germán claimed it was chewing tobacco.

Germán now faces an automatic 10-game suspension.

“I have to apologize to my teammates and my team,” Germán said. “I put them in a difficult position right now. Figuring out how much the bullpen was used and what my plan was to pitch tonight, and putting them in a tight spot where I’m not pitching there anymore.

Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Germán pitches in the first inning against the Blue Jays.

It’s the second time this season that Germán has run into trouble with the move, after being told by Hoye in a game against the Minnesota Twins on April 15 to wash off any excess rosin after he was deemed to have too much on his throwing hand.

“I don’t want this to happen again,” Germán said. “I (follow) the instructions; I don’t use it enough. Now I use it too much, and there was a problem because it was too much on my hand. So, summer is coming; we will sweat a lot there. You need some grip, don’t you? But you also want clear guidelines from (the referees) to see what is appropriate and what is too much.

MLB has implemented new guidelines in recent years to combat the implantation of foreign substances into baseballs.

This gave umpires more power to perform regular checks on pitchers’ hands, including having the discretion to inspect any part of a player’s uniform.

Germán is not the only person to have been penalized under these new guidelines.

Last month, New York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer was ejected against the Los Angeles Dodgers before the start of the fourth inning after umpires inspected his hands and gloves for use of an illegal substance, judging that the ace’s hand was too sticky.

Scherzer, however, insisted after the April game that he had also just used rosin.

“I swear on my children’s lives, I don’t use anything else,” the veteran explained. “It’s sweat and rosin. Sweat and rosin. … I’d have to be an absolute idiot to use anything else. I’m literally coming out with sweat and rosin, getting kicked out.

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