All-Star pitcher Tyler Glasnow: MLB’s substance crackdown caused injury

Tyler Glasnow Rays MLB foreign substance
Rays starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow blamed MLB’s foreign-substance crackdown for why he suffered a partially torn UCL.
Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

If Major League Baseball was expecting a peaceful transition to life without pitchers using any kind of substances after a memo on Tuesday threatened a 10-game suspension, those hopes evaporated almost instantaneously. 

Tampa Bay Rays starter Tyler Glasnow, who is one of the top pitchers in the American League, was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL that he says was prompted by the league’s crackdown that forced him to quit using a sunscreen and rosin combination for more grip on the baseball, not for more spin.

“Nothing egregious,” he said. “Just something where I can get a grip on the ball so it doesn’t feel dusty…

“It’s ridiculous that it seems like this whole public perception that ‘oh, it’s a select few people.’ Like, your favorite pitcher 50 years ago was probably using something too.”

On Tuesday night, Glasnow revealed that he pitched “cold turkey” in his previous two starts — including a start last week against the Washington Nationals in which he went seven innings, allowing just one run on six hits with 11 strikeouts.

“Before the start I remember when all the stuff came out, I was talking to doctors and they were like the thing that MLB might not realize is what is the prevention of, or maybe it will add injuries,” Glasnow said. “And I was like ‘that sounds dumb, that sounds like an excuse a player would use to make sure he could use sticky stuff.'”

“I woke up and I was sore I didn’t even know I had muscles in. I felt completely different.”

Glasnow cited that he had to completely change his grip on his fastball and curveball, putting further strain on his forearm by holding it deeper in his hand, adding that he was “choking the s— out of all my pitches.”

Under such strain, he felt a pop on Monday night.

“I’m sitting there like ‘you have to be f—ing kidding me.'” Glasnow lamented. “I’m not trying to blame anyone. I’m not trying to say ‘oh, this is MLB’s fault,’ I know they got thrown into this situation and they’re trying their best to navigate around this. They’re trying to make this fair for people. I understand that.”

It’s the timing of things, though, that is what’s perturbing Glasnow the most.

“Whether you want us to use sticky stuff or not is fine. Fine, do it in the offseason,” he said. “Give us a chance to adjust to it. But I just threw eighty-something innings and then just told me I can’t use anything during the year? I had to change everything I had been doing the entire season. Everything out of the window… now I’m telling you, I truly believe that’s why I got hurt.”

It appears as though MLB’s hope through policing the use of foreign substances on the baseball is that it will ultimately increase offense, limiting some of the nasty movement some pitchers have been able to put on the ball thanks to the use of Spider Tack or that sunscreen and rosin combination.

Yet Glasnow believes the league did nothing to think of the pitcher.

“I’m just frustrated that they don’t understand how hard it is to pitch, one, but to tell us to do something completely different in the middle of the season — that’s insane,” he said. “Pitchers need to be able to have some sort of control or some grip on the ball. I don’t want this to happen to somebody else. I don’t want a fastball to sail away and hit somebody in the face like it already has. I understand you need to take an aggressive approach, but I think people are going about it all wrong. 

“And I’m sitting here, my lifelong dream to go out and win a Cy Young, I want to be an All-Star, and now it’s all just s— on. Now it’s over. Now I have to rehab to try and come back for the playoffs.”