The manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Dave Roberts, expressed concern that one of its star pitchers, Trevor Bauer, has been singled out in the Major League Baseball’s renewed effort to reduce the illegal use of foreign substances in baseballs.
Bauer’s name appeared in a recent report on The Athletic website, which said that several baseballs were collected for inspection after they were found to have visible marks and felt sticky. Bauer complained about the report through his Twitter account and criticized MLB for leaking information about “a supposedly confidential process.”
“My understanding is that umpires collect baseballs from all pitchers, and balls that were in play, to collect samples,” Roberts said Friday morning before his team’s home opener. “That’s something I get from. I just hope our player is not singled out. That’s the only thing I want to protect myself from.”
MLB, which has spent the last year trying to control pitchers using foreign substances in an effort to maximize turn speeds and generate more shifts and glitches, issued a memo to teams on March 23 outlining three new methods.
It included having two employees and a game day compliance monitor stationed at each ballpark in part responsible for identifying foreign substance violations. The league also said it would review Statcast data to identify alarming spikes in turn speed and would instruct on-field personnel, including umpires, “to send out-of-game baseballs to the Commissioner’s Office for further inspection. and documentation “.
“They will prioritize those that contain potential evidence of a foreign substance,” the memo said, “but they will also select balls at random to ensure complete coverage.”
Some of those will be outsourced to a lab for further inspection, but sources told ESPN that the league will spend the 2021 season primarily in information gathering mode. Bauer is not currently facing possible punishment from the league. But the findings being inspected could be used as supporting evidence for punishment in the future.
Bauer publicly criticized the league’s original memo, posting a 23-minute video on YouTube in which he questioned MLB’s intent.