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Report: Astros Pitcher Receives Suspension After Foreign Substance Check

Houston Astros starter Ronel Blanco has been suspended for ten games. Umpires found a foreign substance that first base umpire Erich Bacchus said was “the stickiest stuff I’ve felt on a glove.” The right-hander was ejected from Tuesday’s start against the Oakland Athletics following a foreign substance inspection. Umpires confiscated Blanco’s glove when he came out of the fourth inning. Blanco, who was 4-0 with a 2.23 ERA in seven starts, held the A’s scoreless through three innings. Bacchus did a standard check of his glove walking to the mound to start the fourth. All four umpires converged and inspected the glove. Blanco was ultimately ejected by third base umpire, Laz Diaz, the crew chief.

Unless Blanco appeals, the suspension will begin Wednesday night. If Blanco decides to appeal, then the discipline will be held in abeyance until the process is complete.

Ronel Blanco Receives Ten-Game Suspension

Ronel insisted that the sticky substance was rosin he had put on his forearm and it had made its way into the glove because of sweat. It’s illegal for pitchers to have a sticky substance on their non-throwing hand, a rule which Blanco acknowledged he didn’t know beforehand.

“No, I didn’t know that was illegal,” said Blanco. “I see other pitchers come in and do it, as well, so I thought that was normal.”

Astros manager Joe Espada was able to look at the glove, saying he could see white powder on the inside. Espada asked the umpires if Blanco could get a new glove and continue pitching, but was told no.

“It sucks because he was throwing the ball well,” Espada said. “I believe I kind of saw the substance in there and the stickiness to it.”

Umpires Reaction to Blanco’s Glove

Bacchus did inspect Blanco’s hands and glove following the first inning but found nothing then.

“Then I went to go do his second check, going into the fourth inning, I asked for his glove,” Bacchus said to a group of reporters. “That was the first thing I checked. And I felt something inside the glove [pointing to his palm]. It was the sickest stuff I’ve felt on a glove since we’ve been doing this for a few years now. So, I brought the crew in. The crew conferred and then we went from there.”

Blanco Has Been the Astros Best Pitcher This Year

Blanco won the fifth starter job late in spring training. He threw a no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays in his season debut. The right-hander followed up with another six strong outings by not allowing more than three runs in any start. He has a season ERA of 2.09 over 47 1/3 innings, providing a massive boost to an otherwise depleted pitching staff. Besides Blanco, Hunter Brown and Spencer Arrighetti are the only other Houston pitchers who have more than five starts.

Main Photo: © Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports


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