New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole’s latest outing wasn’t a bad one.
Far from it, actually.
The $324 million man went eight innings strong in a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, allowing just two runs on four hits but with only four strikeouts — tied for the lowest number of his season and a far cry from the 12.5 strikeouts-per-nine-innings figure he put up over his first 13 starts of the 2021 campaign.
But this was Cole’s first outing since MLB sent its memo that it would be cracking down on foreign substances used by pitchers that they deemed gives them an unfair advantage by being able to put more spin on the ball.
“It’s so hard to grip the ball,” Cole said of his first outing without using any substances for grip. “For Pete’s sake, it’s part of the reason why almost every player on the field has had something, regardless if they’re a pitcher or not, to help them control the ball.”
Cole himself was thrust into the spotlight after he “didn’t know how to answer” the question of whether or not he used Spider Tack — the main substance that umpires will now be looking for.
“Please, just talk to us, please just work with us,” Cole begged MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. “I know you have the hammer here. But we’ve been living in a gray area for so long. I would just hate to see players get hurt. I would hate to see balls start flying at people’s heads.”
Tampa Bay Rays ace Tyler Glasnow expressed similar sentiments when he accused Major League Baseball’s sudden ban on sticky substances as the reason why he suffered a partially torn UCL on Monday, explaining how he had to change his grip and put further strain on the muscles of his forearm.
“I had a really tough time gripping the baseball,” Cole said. “Especially early when it was windy. I don’t really care to be inflammatory here, so I am just going to leave it at that.
“I was messing with [my grip] all night. To make a drastic change in the middle of the season is going to be challenging for a lot of people. I am a little concerned of injuries, especially after talking to [Glasnow].”
“I hope that we can apply some feel to the situation,” Cole continued. “I would encourage the commissioner’s office to continue to talk with us, please, because we’re the ones that throw the ball. They don’t. And we’re the experts in this situation.”