As tensions flare over sticky stuff checkups, Pirates pitchers pass test with no problems

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Jun. 23—Where Washington starter Max Scherzer raised his hands and rolled his eyes and Oakland reliever Sergio Romo dropped his pants in response to MLB umpires checking pitchers for sticky stuff, the Pittsburgh Pirates' dugout had mock applause for Tyler Anderson after he passed the checkpoint.

That caused the Pirates left-hander to deliver a deadpan dagger.

"I think that was the most tests I've passed in a day in my whole life," Anderson said after the Pirates' 6-3 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night at PNC Park.

There was no drama when the Pirates got their first taste of baseball's crackdown on banned grip-enhancing substances, where umpires checked the ball caps, gloves and belts of pitchers.

Anderson simply shrugged it off as a routine inspection without incident.

"An additional stop to the dugout was all," Anderson said. "You walked and had to stop other than keep going. They check your belt, they check your hat. There's nothing in there, you're good to go. I'm sure they don't want to be doing it as much as we don't want to do it. It's very cordial. Let's get this done and get back to the game."

Pirates manager Derek Shelton saw Monday night how MLB's memo was received by pitchers around the league, so his staff was proactive about addressing the issues and protocols with the pitching staff.

"We saw pitchers get jacked in terms of messaging," Shelton said. "We've met with our guys multiple times about it. They'll see the memo that Major League Baseball sent out, so they're aware of how it's going to go down and what the guidelines are. They'll go through in their advance meeting today about what the guidelines are."

Where Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi was ejected after tensions boiled over when he asked for Scherzer to be checked a second time against the Washington Nationals, Shelton credited crew chief Jerry Meals and fellow umpire Marvin Hudson for handling the duty well.

"I thought the umpires did a good job. I thought they were very quick. They were right on top of it," Shelton said. "Jerry and Marvin got to guys right away, were very thorough and did not disrupt the game at all. So I give credit to the umpires. I thought they did a really nice job of it."

Before the game, Shelton called for a uniform enforcement throughout baseball, stressing that consistency and adhering to the rules are both important if baseball is going to check for competitive edges.

"I think that's been the big thing throughout, as long as we're doing the same way at every single ballpark, then I'm fine with it," Shelton said. "I just want to make sure we stay on the same playing field and it's one of those things where everybody's checked the same way."

Anderson wasn't too worried about the crackdown on the banned substances on balls, as long as the managers aren't showing up opposing pitchers and creating even stickier situations.

"We're not guys that are using a bunch of stuff out there, so I think for us, we're fine," Anderson said. "If you want to come check us, come check us. If a manager comes out, I think that's the one that ruffled some feathers (Tuesday night), was managers calling somebody out. I think if that's the case, you want to do it, whatever. But I'm sure our manager can do the same thing right back to that guy or whatever. All you're doing is slowing the game down and the umpire is already checking."

Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at kgorman@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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