Mariners Pitcher Suspended for Having Illegal Foreign Substance

Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Hector Santiago is suspended for 10 games for having an illegal [...]

Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Hector Santiago is suspended for 10 games for having an illegal foreign substance on his glove, Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday. Santiago was also fined by MLB and is the first player ejected and suspended under the league's new enforcement on pitchers using foreign substances. Santiago is appealing the suspension.

The incident happened on Sunday when home-plate umpire Phil Cuzzi checked Santiago for grip-enhancing agents. He was ejected from the game shortly after that, but Santiago argued that he was using legal rosin, which mixed in with his sweat on a hot day. Santiago said the umpires told him the issue was on his glove and not on his hand.

"I wasn't using anything besides rosin," Santiago said per "That's what's given to us, because going into this one, once it came up, I was just like, 'I'm going to use rosin. That's what we got. I don't want this to be a big thing. I don't want this to happen to me.' And [Cuzzi] said he just felt some stuff sticky on the inside of the glove. So all I used was rosin." Mariners manager Scott Servais is standing behind Santiago.

"It was rosin and rosin is behind the pitcher's mound, so it's not foreign. It's not a foreign substance," Servais told reporters Tuesday. "So I am surprised, to some degree. But I understand what Major League Baseball is trying to do, they're trying to create a level playing field and understand why they decided to do this in the middle of the season."

The crackdown on illegal substances began last week, and there were a lot of questions about how everything will go down. One of the biggest questions is why is MLB doing this in June instead of April when the 2020 season began?

"The suddenness of this is still jarring to me," ESPN MLB expert Alden Gonzalez said. "This could've been handled so much more smoothly, either by waiting until the forthcoming offseason to allow pitchers to adequately adjust to throwing the baseball without anything on it or by warning them about an upcoming crackdown before the last offseason. The league has known for years that this had become a serious problem, with pitchers venturing outside of sunblock and pine tar to maximize spin rate.