Los Angeles Dodgers starter Trevor Bauer is at the center of the latest controversy in MLB.
Early in Bauer's start against the Athletics at the Coliseum in Oakland on Wednesday, at least one baseball was removed for inspection regarding a foreign substance, according to A's radio broadcaster Vince Cotroneo.
On Thursday, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported, citing major-league sources, that multiple baseballs used by Bauer were collected by umpires and sent to the league office for examination.
According to Rosenthal, the baseballs had "visible markings and were sticky."
Bauer pitched 6 2/3 innings and allowed three hits, two earned runs, one walk and struck out 10 A's batters. He didn't factor into the decision as Oakland forced extra innings and won a walk-off hit by Mitch Moreland in the 10th inning.
Bauer saw The Athletic's story and questioned the substance of the story.
Before the start of the 2021 season, MLB sent memos to teams alerting them that they were going to start looking into pitchers doctoring baseballs with foreign substances. They also were going to monitor spin rates and compare them to what a pitcher had done earlier in his career.
Unless the league-assigned monitors are able to catch a pitcher in the act of doctoring a baseball, it's a hard thing to police. Did the pitcher apply the pine tar to the baseball or did it get there some other way? That's a hard question to answer if there's no photographic or video evidence.
It remains to be seen what MLB will do if they determine Bauer applied a foreign substance to the baseballs Wednesday, but unfortunately for the 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner, he's going to be the guinea pig for the league's new rule.