Brewers' Smith suspended for applying substance to arm

Fri May 22, 2015 3:31pm EDT
 
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(Reuters) - Milwaukee Brewers reliever Will Smith received an eight-game suspension from Major League Baseball on Friday for having an unauthorized substance on his arm in Thursday's 10-1 loss to the Braves, but will file an appeal.

The left-hander was ejected after the umpire, responding to a complaint by Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, found a glistening mixture of rosin and sunscreen on Smith's right arm after he took the mound in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Smith said he applied the substance while warming up in the bullpen to get a better grip on the ball and forgot to wipe it off before entering the game.

Smith, who is 1-0 with a 2.84 earned run average in 10 appearances this season, will continue to pitch until the appeal is heard.

Last season, New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was suspended 10 games after a glob of pine tar on the back of his neck was noticed by Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell during an April game at Fenway Park.

Many pitchers use some sticky substance for a better grip, especially in chilly weather, but under the unwritten code of the game, protests are lodged when the practice becomes overly obvious.

Rule 8.02(b) says a pitcher shall not "have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance. For such infraction of this section the penalty shall be immediate ejection from the game. In addition, the pitcher shall be suspended automatically."

The rule was initially aimed at pitchers who used substances on the ball to deceive batters by changing its flight.

(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Gene Cherry)