What is the MLB rule for sticky substances?
MLB has issued a memo saying it is cracking down on sticky substances after suspicions that pitchers have managed to find a way around routine checks by umpires.
Major League Baseball has issued a memo to all its teams saying that they will be strictly monitoring the use of sticky substances by pitchers in the 2022 season.
Starting in spring training, pitchers will have their fingers and hands checked at random moments by umpires during a game. This is on top of inspections of their hats, belts, and gloves.
MLB: Umpires to inspect pitchers' hands and fingers
“Umpires have been given additional guidance to help them determine whether a pitcher's hand or fingers contain a foreign substance in violation of the rules, which will make inspections more effective, and less invasive,” according to Michael Hill, MLB senior vice president of on-field operations.
The pitcher’s thumb, index finger, middle finger, and palm will be specifically scrutinized. If a pitcher’s hand is found to be “unquestionably sticky”, the umpire will assume that a substance had been applied so as to aid performance. Such a finding will mean that the player will be penalized.
Starting pitchers can expect to be inspected more than once, while umpires will inspect relievers once they enter the field or after an inning. If the player is seen wiping his hands before being checked, he may be kicked out of the game.
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Not only pitchers will be inspected
Catchers and other players may also be checked by umpires as the need arises. If an umpire sees that a player other than the pitcher has put a sticky substance on the ball, both he and the pitcher will be kicked out of the game. These inspections will be held between innings or changes of pitcher so as not to unnecessarily delay the game.
The league had had cause to suspect that pitchers had begun to apply sticky substances to balls because of increased spin rates. A crackdown last year resulted in a decline in spin rates, but there was a rebound later, raising the possibility that some pitchers had found a way to get around the inspections conducted by the umpires.
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