Yankees' Gerrit Cole discusses MLB's rules for sticky substances: 'It's so hard to grip the ball'

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Yankees Gerrit Cole front facing pitch
Yankees Gerrit Cole front facing pitch

The MLB released a lengthy memo this week that detailed the new rules that will go into effect beginning on June 21 as the league cracks down on pitchers who use illegal sticky substances on the baseballs.

Yankees starter Gerrit Cole threw 104 pitches over 8.0 IP in Wednesday's 3-2 win over the Blue Jays, but his spin rate was down more than usual. After the game, he was asked about MLB's new rules for pitchers and if he struggled with his grip.

"Yeah, really windy early, very tough to grip the ball," Cole said. "Wind died down later in the game and I got some more feel, so it got better as it progressed.

"I think I alluded to it answering the question beforehand," Cole said. "Look, we're all just trying to play by the rules. Play by what the commissioner has handed out going forward. Spin rate's not everything, you can still pitch well if you don't have a high spin rate."

Earlier in the week, Tampa Bay Rays starter Tyler Glasnow suffered a partial UCL tear and then blamed MLB's crackdown on sticky substances for his injury. Cole said that he spoke to Glasnow and is concerned for player safety with the changes going on.

"I think certainly the intent I agree with, uniformity I agree with," Cole said. "Probably consensus among all the players, especially everybody that I've spoken to. We're in line with what the league is thinking in terms of that. Now again, the customs and practices in the last twenty, thirty years in this league are one thing, and then to make a drastic change in the middle of the season is going to be challenging for a lot of people. I am a little concerned about injuries, especially after talking to Tyler [Glasnow].

"And I hope we can apply some feel to the situation. The players on the union calls, we all have quite a strong consensus on where we believe this should go. I would encourage the commissioner's office to continue to talk to us, please, because we're the ones who throw the ball, they don't. We're the experts in this situation and we're aligned in terms of intent with the commissioner's office as well."

Cole went on to talk about the possibility of being issued a different type of substance to grip the ball and what he'd like to see moving forward.

"We've heard from the commissioner's office about a universal substance," Cole said. "I certainly think that's something to be discussed. It's so hard to grip the ball. For Pete's sake, it's part of the reason why almost every player on the field has something, regardless if they're a pitcher or not, to help them control the ball. I don't have a solution, but again, we're aligned in a lot of areas with the commissioner's office on this.

"Please just talk to us, please just work with us. I know you have to hammer here. We've been living in a grey area for so long. I would just hate to see players get hurt, I would hate to see balls start flying at player's heads. I had a really tough time gripping the baseball tonight, especially early when it was windy."

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