The MLB foreign substance crackdown has officially arrived. In a memo sent out to teams today, the league detailed the new policies and procedures that will drastically change up what pitchers are able to do on the mound. The new rules will take be put into place as of Monday.
Under the new guidelines from MLB, pitchers who are found to be in violation of the rules will be ejected from games and suspended for 10 games. According to ESPN’S Jeff Passan, those who are suspended will still receive their normal pay. That is likely a way for the league to circumvent the Player’s Association with the adjustment.
MLB will indeed require starting pitchers to be checked more than once per game. Relievers will be checked at the end of the inning or as they come out of a game. The inspections are supposed to take place during television breaks in order to prevent slowing up the pace of play.
MLB umpires are also permitted to conduct checks at their discretion. If there is any indication that a pitcher may be using a substance, they can be checked. Position players passing along foreign substances to pitchers or doctoring the ball will be ejected along with the pitcher and suspended.
The biggest note of this is that players suspended under this rule cannot be replaced on the roster. That added caveat is intended to further care pitchers from doctoring the ball, but it also encourages coaching staffs to police it. Teams that have 2 guys hit in one week could be without a pair of starting pitchers for 10 days. That’s significant.
It’s going to be a massive change across MLB, and the offensive numbers are almost sure to climb. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out starting next week, but you can be sure the game will be very different.