Mets’ Drew Smith suspended 10 games for banned sticky stuff during Subway Series
NEW YORK - New York Mets pitcher Drew Smith was suspended for 10 games by Major League Baseball, the fifth pitcher and second on his team penalized for using banned sticky stuff.
The penalty was announced by MLB senior vice president for on-field operations Michael Hill, one day after Smith entered in the seventh inning of a Subway Series game against the Yankees at Citi Field and was ejected without throwing a pitch.
Smith declined to appeal the discipline to John McHale Jr., a special assistant to baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, and started serving the penalty Wednesday night.
“They said both of my hands were too sticky,” Smith said following the Mets’ 7-6 loss. “Really surprised, because I haven’t done anything different all year. Sweat and rosin. I don’t know what else to say. Nothing changed. It’s just, I think the process is so arbitrary. It can change from one crew to the other and I think that’s the main issue.”
Smith was stopped for a routine check as he reached the infield. Within moments, several umpires and teammates were huddled around the right-hander, and Mets manager Buck Showalter came out of the dugout to join the discussion.
Smith held out his pitching hand and pleaded his case, but he was ejected by first base umpire Bill Miller, the crew chief. New York will be a player short during the suspension.
“Drew Smith was ejected because he had sticky hands,” Miller told a pool reporter. “I don’t know what’s on his hand, all I know it was sticky - sticky to the touch. It stuck to my hands when I touched it. Not only his pitching hand, but his glove hand as well.”
Miller said Smith’s hand was the stickiest he’s felt this season, and that the other three umpires agreed.
“I think if something’s sticky, it’s illegal,” Miller said. “They cannot manipulate the rosin. They can’t use foreign substance. I don’t know what was on his hand. But his hand was sticky to the touch, where my hand stuck to his hand.”
Mets pitcher Max Scherzer, who started Tuesday night, served a 10-game suspension after being ejected April 19 at Dodger Stadium. Scherzer claimed it was simply a mix of sweat and rosin, nothing illegal.
“I look in the mirror and go, `OK, are we doing something wrong that we need to fix?’” Showalter said Wednesday. “That’s my first thing you got to look at. It’s like instead of it always being somebody else’s fault, somebody singling you out or picking you out. Are you doing something wrong?”
New York Yankees pitcher Domingo Germán was ejected from a May 16 game in Toronto for using a foreign substance on the mound and suspended 10 games by Major League Baseball the following day.
After MLB began cracking down on foreign substances in June 2021, Seattle’s Hector Santiago and Arizona’s Caleb Smith served suspensions for illegal sticky substances.