Max Scherzer vs. Dodgers ejected after umpire’s glove inspection

LOS ANGELES — Max Scherzer argued with home-plate umpire Dan Bellino and umpire Bill Guzzi for more than a minute Wednesday afternoon, his right arm outstretched during much of the exchange. As Mets manager Buck Showalter stood beside him, Scherzer pleaded his case, repeatedly telling the umpires that he used nothing but rosin to catch the baseball.

Then Gucci ejected Scherzer, leaving the Mets in a pitching bind that, due to a possible suspension, would last beyond their 5-3 victory over the Dodgers in the series finale.

Scherzer initially met with Bellino in the middle of the second inning for a routine sticky substance test that will be part of MLB protocol starting in 2021. During that exchange, according to both parties, Gucci told Scherzer that his hand was too sticky. It must be washed and he will be checked again before he returns to the third mound.

So Scherzer went down to Dodger Stadium’s visitors’ clubhouse and washed his hands of alcohol in front of an MLB official. But when Scherzer returned for the third inning, Guzzi said his glove was “sticky” with a foreign substance, which Scherzer said was rosin — the only substance legal for a pitcher to apply directly to his hands. to his glove or uniform. Gucci asked Scherzer to exchange his glove for a new one.

“[Cuzzi] Said my hand was too sticky,” Scherzer said. “I said, ‘I swear on my kids’ lives, I’m not using anything else. It’s sweat and rosin, sweat and rosin.’ I keep repeating and they touch my hand and they say it will stick. Yes, it is, because it’s sweat and rosin. They say it’s too sticky. I was kicked out because of that.”

“Bill and I both touched his hand,” Bellino said through a pool reporter. “In terms of the stickiness, the stickiness, it’s the stickiest since I’ve tested the hands, which goes back three seasons now. The stickiness compared to the first innings, when he touches the hand, our fingers stick to his hand. .and after two innings whatever was on our fingers, you could still feel the fingers sticking together.

Jimmy Yagabonis entered in relief and was given unlimited time to warm up as Scherzer suddenly left, allowing no runs over three innings as he returned from a minor back injury. When Brandon Nimmo hit a two-run homer off former teammate Noah Syndergaard in the fifth, the Mets roared from the visitors’ dugout.

“The guys were really excited about it,” Nimmo said.

This is not Scherzer’s first disagreement with the umpires in a sticky test. In 2021, with the Nationals, Scherzer threw his hat to the ground, unbuckled his belt and began removing his pants in excitement after Phillies manager Joe Girardi called for multiple substance tests from the dugout. Following that game, Scherzer discussed at length the use of sweat and rosin to hold baseballs on the mound.

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Wednesday marked the fourth ejection of Scherzer’s career, but the first time he has been thrown while actively participating in a game. The early exit exacerbated the Mets’ recent pitching crisis, which could worsen if Scherzer is determined by MLB to have used illegal adhesives. If the league rules against him, he’ll face a 10-game suspension in 2021 with the chance to appeal, just like MLB pitchers Hector Santiago and Caleb Smith’s sticky-stuff ejection.

The umpires plan to send a report of the incident to MLB, which the commissioner’s office will review to determine whether a suspension should be issued. According to league guidelines, rosin is legal for pitchers to use on their wrists and forearms to “manage sweat,” but they are prohibited from using it on their gloves and uniforms. It is also illegal to combine rosin with other foreign substances such as sunscreen.

“We understand the consequences of removing a pitcher from the game,” Bellino said. “We take it very seriously.”

Scherzer, whose spin rates were in line with his season’s regulations, argued that he was “absolutely stupid” to use a non-rosin substance following the initial umpire test.

“Now, it’s becoming a legal matter,” Scherzer said. “I don’t want to comment on what happens next whether I get suspended or not. Let’s see what happens,” he said.

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