Manfred: Start of substance crackdown going 'very well'
Through two days of Major League Baseball's crackdown on pitchers using foreign substances for grip, commissioner Rob Manfred is encouraged.
"My view is the first two days have gone very well," Manfred told Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic. "We've had no ejections, players, in general, have been extremely cooperative, the inspections have taken place quickly and between innings."
But things got tense between the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night when umpires checked three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer three times for sticky substances - once at the request of Phillies skipper Joe Girardi, who was later ejected for yelling at the Nationals dugout and. Though Manfred acknowledged the situation was "less than ideal," he also noted it was "one incident."
Scherzer blasted the commissioner following the game, calling the inspections "Manfred rules" and stating the new policy "is not the answer."
Asked about Scherzer's comments, Manfred called them "blatantly incorrect" and noted players and the Major League Baseball Players Association provided input before the league enacted the changes.
Umpires began checking pitchers for foreign substances between innings Monday as MLB looks to curb the use of grip-enhancers that has seemingly depressed batting averages and other offensive stats. League rules have prohibited pitchers from using substances for decades, but MLB has not fully enforced those rules until now.