Major League Baseball issued a 10-game suspension and undisclosed fine to Mariners pitcher Hector Santiago for possessing a foreign substance on his glove during the Mariners’ first game Sunday against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago.
His suspension was supposed to begin Tuesday night with the series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays in Buffalo, New York.
But Santiago, who said after the game Sunday that he had only rosin on his skin and glove, has decided to appeal the ruling. His suspension will be held in abeyance pending appeal.
Seattle manager Scott Servais wasn’t certain how the appeals process might work.
“I’m sure the Players’ Association will be involved along with Hector and his representation as well as the Mariners to kind of find out what’s going to happen there,” Servais said before the game Tuesday. “I don’t have any idea how long that could take.”
Following the fifth inning of a game suspended Saturday and played Sunday afternoon in Chicago, umpires checked Santiago’s arms and glove. After looking on the inside of the glove, they summoned Servais and then ejected Santiago.
“I know that I didn’t use anything today,” Santiago said. “I wasn’t using anything besides rosin, which was given to us.”
Crew chief Tom Hallion, who was not on the field for the first game, spoke to a pool reporter after the game and offered this reasoning: “He was ejected for, when his glove was inspected for having a foreign substance that was sticky on the inside palm of his glove.”
Home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi noticed “the substance” and called over the rest of the umpire crew to examine the glove.
“We were all in agreement,” Cuzzi told Hallion.
Cuzzi ejected a stunned Santiago and didn’t listen to any of Servais’ protestations.
Santiago’s glove was confiscated and placed in a plastic bag to be sent to MLB for further inspection. However, a report from ESPN said that didn’t happen and the suspension was imposed without anyone from MLB inspecting the glove, only Cuzzi and the other umpires.
Servais also confirmed that MLB has not inspected Santiago’s glove.
After the game Sunday, neither Servais nor Santiago expected a suspension to be levied.
Asked about it Tuesday, Servais admitted he was surprised that a suspension was handed down. He also was clearly miffed at the wording of MLB’s news release on the suspension, particularly the words “foreign substance.”
“Just to be clear there was no foreign substance on his glove; it was rosin and rosin is behind the pitcher’s mound, so it’s not a foreign substance,” Servais said. “And because it was rosin, I am surprised, to some degree, but I understand what Major League Baseball is trying to do. They’re trying to create a level playing field and understand why they decided to do this in the middle of the season.”