NEW YORK — Mets pitcher Max Scherzer was suspended for 10 games by Major League Baseball on Thursday following his ejection for having a foreign substance on his hand during a game.
Scherzer initially appealed the penalty and $10,000 fine imposed by Michael Hill, MLB’s senior vice president for on-field operations. But Scherzer said that since the appeal would have been heard by MLB special adviser John McHale Jr., he decided to drop it and begin serving his suspension immediately.
“I thought I was going to get in front of a neutral arbitrator, but I wasn’t, it was going to be through MLB,” Scherzer said before Thursday’s game against the San Francisco Giants. “So given that process, I really wasn’t going to come out on top.”
Scherzer is the third pitcher suspended by MLB since the crackdown on sticky substances started in June 2021. Seattle‘s Héctor Santiago was penalized that June 28 and Arizona‘s Caleb Smith on Aug. 24, 2021, also 10-game penalties.
All three inspections that led to suspensions involved umpire Phil Cuzzi.
Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, was ejected on Wednesday during the fourth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. He claimed the stickiness was caused by rosin and sweat and not by a foreign substance.
Cuzzi determined after the second inning that Scherzer’s hand was stickier and darker than normal and ordered Scherzer to wash his hand, which Scherzer said he did with alcohol while a Major League Baseball official watched.
After the third inning, Cuzzi determined the pocket of Scherzer’s glove was “sticky,” likely with too much rosin, and he ordered Scherzer to change gloves. The umpires then checked the 38-year-old right-hander again before the fourth, and believed his hands were even worse than before.
“No one can explain what is too sticky,” Scherzer’s agent, Scott Boras, said in a statement. “There are no units of stickiness to quantify. How do you appropriately enforce? MLB attempts to level the playing field by using standards that are not measurable. Further one umpire has a stickiness standard that is different than all other umpires.”
“Under this standard, players are not given due process of how to use a approved substance provided by the league,” Boras added. “This reminds me of local wine taster – he likes what likes.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.