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The MLB crackdown on pitchers’ use of foreign substances on baseballs went into effect Monday, and teams were left to wonder how the ban will affect their pitching staff.
That includes the Texas Rangers. Yes, some, but not all, Rangers pitchers used something that has been outlawed and will be forced to adjust.
“I’m not going to lie to you guys,” manager Chris Woodward said. “I not going to sit here and say we’re all saints and nobody was using anything here. They’re major-league pitchers. They were doing something that’s never ever been enforced. Of course, they were using something.”
Woodward didn’t identify which pitchers used the now illegal stuff, but said right-hander Kyle Gibson was not one of them. Gibson started Monday night against the Oakland A’s.
Woodward, though, doesn’t believe Rangers pitchers were baseball’s worst offenders. Those who did use substances did so to help them throw strikes more consistently rather than to add spin to their pitches.
Did that happen? Maybe one or two guys, Woodward said, but he wasn’t aware of any of them using the now infamous Spider Tack.
“I don’t think we have any egregious guys,” Woodward said. “I’ll be honest on that. I don’t think we had any guys that were the worst in the league as far as using. ... I want to say that we were probably at the low end of the teams that were using a ton of really, really egregious sticky substances. We just didn’t have it. Did they use something? Yes, because they weren’t told they couldn’t.”
Woodward said that he and the pitching coaches spoke with the pitchers Monday, and one bit of advice they gave was to throw out any ball they felt had any kind of substance on it — a batted ball with pine tar from a bat, for instance.
Pitchers can go as far as to request a towel to clean their hand, Woodward said.
Any pitcher who is found in violation of the new rules is subject to a 10-game suspension, and his team is not allowed to replace him on the roster.