Astros pitcher Ronel Blanco ejected due to sticky substance

The Houston Astros are in hot water again after umpires ruled that a pitcher had an illegal substance on his glove.

Astros pitcher Ronel Blanco was ejected from Tuesday night’s game against the Oakland A’s following a routine inspection of Blanco’s glove between innings. You can watch video of the incident here.

ronel blanco

Houston Astros starting pitcher Ronel Blanco (56) talks with second base umpire Tripp Gibson after being ejected following a foreign substance check during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics

Speaking through a translator after the game, Blanco denied using an illegal substance. Blanco claimed that the sticky substance was “probably rosin” he put on his left arm that trickled down due to sweat. Blanco added that he was unaware of the MLB rule that banned pitchers from having a sticky substance on the non-throwing arm.

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

After the bottom of the third inning, umpires met on the mound during the inspection, where Blanco could be seen pleading his case. The glove was passed around so each umpire could inspect it. Ultimately, Blanco was tossed.

Major League Baseball has been cracking down on the use of illegal substances in recent years. Umpires regularly inspect pitchers after innings to check for sticky substances that could be used to doctor the baseball, giving them additional spin on the ball.

“I felt something inside the glove,” first base umpire Erich Bacchus said, via the Associated Press. “It was the stickiest stuff I’ve felt on a glove since we’ve been doing this for a few years now.”

Tay Scott took over on the mound following the ejection. Houston went on to use five relief pitchers in the game en route to a 2-1 win over the A’s in 10 innings after a walk-off RBI single by Victor Caratini.

The ejection is a bad sign for an Astros team that continues to carry the stigma of the 2017 sign-stealing scandal. Houston drew enormous backlash from around baseball after it was found that the team stole signs through use of video (and banging trash cans) to aid their 2017 World Series run.

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