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MLB’s ‘foreign substance’ rule forces Reds’ Graham Ashcraft to remove wedding ring

There was a puzzling moment during Saturday’s game that will likely leave some questioning MLB’s thinking.

MLB’s ‘foreign substance’ rule forces Reds’ Graham Ashcraft to remove wedding ring
Andy LyonsGetty

In a curios turn of events, Major League Baseball and the Reds pitcher found themselves at odds over his wedding ring.

Red’s Graham Ashcraft asked to remove wedding ring

As reports will show Cincinnati Reds pitcher Graham Ashcraft was not at all pleased, after he ran afoul of an MLB rule which saw him asked to remove his wedding ring from under his glove. During Saturday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Ashcraft was asked by umpires to remove his ring - on his left hand - during a ‘foreign substance’ inspection in the first inning.

It was clear from the outset of incident that Ashcraft couldn’t believe the request that he faced. The peculiar moment comes of course after MLB issued an advisory this week, that it would begin enforcing a rule on hand, finger and wrist attachments. The rule is intended to prevent pitchers from wearing foreign substances on their hands. “He goes, ‘you have to take your ring off,’” Ashcraft said postgame. “I was like, ‘no, why do I have to take my ring off? I shouldn’t have to.’ Apparently, it’s some new rule they came up with yesterday.”

MLB’s new ‘foreign substance’ rule

As per MLB rule 6.02(c)(7), pitchers “may not attach anything to either hand, any finger or either wrist.” The rule goes on to state, “but in no case may the pitcher be allowed to pitch with such attachment to his hand, finger or wrist.” What’s important here is the interpretation of said rule. In theory it’s at the discretion of the umpire, who has autonomy to decide whether any ‘attachment’ should be considered a ‘foreign substance.’ Add to that the fact that Reds manager David Bell disclosed that MLB umpires only recently began enforcing the rule - the result of an MLB memo - and it becomes a situation that’s not entirely surprising. With that said, the strangeness of the scenario is by no means diminished and it certainly wasn’t for Ashcraft.

Was Graham Ashcraft affected?

While there will likely be some debate about this with some saying ‘yes’ and others ‘no,’ the reality is this: After placing his wedding ring on his necklace, Ashcraft proceeded to have a meltdown on the mound as far as pitching is concerned. The 24-year-old gave up eight hits and a season-high six runs in what turned out to be a a 7-3 loss for Cincinnati. The short answer to the question would appear to be yes.


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