Cole, who has been at the forefront of baseball’s issue with pitchers using sticky substances to gain a better grip on the ball, sounded off about MLB’s new guidance. The league threatened a 10-game suspension for any pitcher or position player caught with a foreign substance.
Cole said after his outing that gripping the ball was a struggle.
“It’s so hard to grip the ball,” Cole told reporters, via ESPN. “For Pete’s sake, it’s part of the reason why almost every player on the field has had something, regardless if they’re a pitcher or not, to help them control the ball.”
He continued: “We are 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 the hammer here. But we’ve been living in a gray area for so long. I would just hate to see players get hurt. I would hate to see balls start flying at people’s head. I had a really tough time gripping the baseball tonight, especially early when it was windy. I don’t really care to be inflammatory here, so I am just going to leave it at that.”
Cole said to make a change in the middle of the season is going to be “challenging.” He said he was concerned with injuries like Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow whose season could be over due to a UCL injury.
Cole said he would like to hear more about a universal substance to be used in baseball other than rosin and hopes baseball would discuss the matter more with players.
MLB said it used research to determine that the substances pitchers used increased their spin rate and gave them an unfair advantage.
“That research concluded that foreign substances significantly increase the spin rate and movement of the baseball, providing pitchers who use these substances with an unfair competitive advantage over hitters and pitchers who do not use foreign substances, and results in less action on the field. In addition, the foreign substance use appears to contribute to a style of pitching in which pitchers sacrifice location in favor of spin and velocity, particularly with respect to elevated fastballs,” the league said.
Umpires will now have broad power to inspect and eject players who are caught with the illegal substances. The new guidance goes into effect Monday.