Ex-Angels employee names players who used his ball-doctoring substance
A former Los Angeles Angels visiting clubhouse manager filed an opposition Thursday to a legal motion by the team and Major League Baseball for trying to dismiss a defamation complaint surrounding his March 2020 firing, according to court documents obtained by Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
Brian "Bubba" Harkins said many Angels pitchers used his substance, which included rosin and pine tar, before being dismissed for giving the concoction to visiting hurlers following a league investigation, per the legal documents submitted to the Orange County Superior Court.
Harkins said Angels players such as Troy Percival, Brendan Donnelly, Tyler Chatwood, Kevin Jepsen, Cam Bedrosian, Keynan Middleton, Yusmeiro Petit, Luke Bard, Matt Andriese, Dylan Peters, Jose Suarez, and Dylan Bundy used the substance over the years he worked for the club.
The 55-year-old added the league has evidence Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Felix Hernandez, Corey Kluber, and Adam Wainwright also used substances to get a better grip on the baseball, according to the court documents.
"Hey Bubba, it's Gerrit Cole, I was wondering if you could help me out with this sticky situation," the New York Yankees ace wrote in a text on Jan. 17, 2019, according to the paperwork submitted. "We don't see you until May, but we have some road games in April that are in cold-weather places. The stuff I had last year seizes up when it gets cold."
Verlander apparently told Harkins in a phone call that "the league has let this go on for 100 years," and claimed MLB began cracking down on pitchers using doctored substances after it learned teams were hiring chemists and conducting studies to find better ways to increase spin rate, according to court documents obtained by the Houston Chronicle's Chandler Rome.
MLB announced in February 2020 that it planned to step up its enforcement of rules preventing pitchers from using foreign substances to doctor baseballs.
Harkins was fired on March 3 and filed a defamation complaint on Aug. 28, while the Angels and MLB filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on Nov. 2.
"Our point is, Bubba was made a one-man scapegoat, and that they did this 'investigation' in an effort to protect the players," Harkins' lawyer, Daniel Rasmussen, said Thursday. "No player has been disciplined, and Bubba has gotten hammered through this whole thing. His reputation has been trashed."
Harkins is looking for $4 million in damages because he believes he's now unemployable due to his damaged reputation, according to court documents. A judge will determine if the case moves forward on Jan. 21.
- Schwarber: 'I'd be all ears' about new deal with Red Sox
- Seager wants to return to Dodgers: 'I believe in what these guys do'
- Matzek savoring Braves' run: 'I was out of baseball in 2017'
- Report: Gray likely seeking 3- or 4-year deal after turning down Rockies offer
- Braves' Rosario named NLCS MVP after record performance