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Los Angeles Dodgers’ Dave Roberts concerned that Trevor Bauer getting singled out by MLB

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Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts expressed concern that one of his star pitchers, Trevor Bauer, has been singled out in Major League Baseball’s renewed effort to curtail the illegal use of foreign substances on baseballs.

Bauer’s name surfaced in a recent report from The Athletic saying that multiple baseballs from his Wednesday outing against the Oakland Athletics were collected for inspection after they were found to contain visible markings and felt sticky. Bauer complained about the report through his Twitter account and criticized MLB for leaking information about “a supposedly confidential process.”

“My understanding is that umpires collect baseballs from all the pitchers, and balls that were in play, to collect samples,” Roberts said Friday morning before his team’s home opener. “That’s kind of what I get from it. I just hope that our player is not singled out. That’s the one thing I want to guard against.”

MLB, which has spent the last year trying to get a handle on pitchers using foreign substances in an effort to maximize spin rates and generate more swings and misses, issued a memo to teams on March 21 that outlined three new policing methods.

It included having two employees — a gameday compliance monitor and an electronics compliance officer — stationed at every ballpark partly responsible for identifying foreign-substance violations. The league also said it would review Statcast data to pinpoint alarming increases in spin rate and that it would instruct on-field personnel, including umpires and authenticators, “to submit baseballs that come out of play to the Commissioner’s Office for further inspection and documentation.”

“They will prioritize baseballs that contain potential evidence of a foreign substance,” the memo read, “but also will randomly select balls to ensure full coverage.”

Some of those balls will be outsourced to a laboratory for further inspection, but sources told ESPN that the league will spend the 2021 season mostly in information-gathering mode and that multiple baseballs from multiple pitchers have been collected from every game this season. To that point, Bauer is not currently facing potential punishment by the league. But findings from the baseballs that are inspected could be used as supportive evidence for punishment down the road.

Bauer publicly criticized the league’s original memo, posting a 23-minute video on YouTube in which he questioned MLB’s intent, said that foreign substances should be standardized and took issue with pitchers being disciplined for substances on baseballs that are collected during games.

“If I throw a pitch and it gets thrown out and tested, and then has a foreign substance on it, how do they know that it came from me and not from the catcher’s glove or the third baseman’s glove or on a foul ball?” Bauer said in his video. “What if it happened to hit the handle of a bat where a hitter has pine tar, or whatever other substance he wants — which is completely legal so long as it doesn’t go too far up the bat? How are they gonna tell that that was me and fault me for using a foreign substance when it could’ve come from any host of other places that are legal?”

Bauer has for years been by far the most outspoken athlete when it comes to MLB’s need to corral the issue of pitchers using substances like pine tar and sunblock to get a better grip on baseballs and create more spin, a direct violation of a rule — 6.02 — that has never been strictly enforced. More recently, though, there has been speculation about Bauer being a potential offender given the increases in the spin rate of his four-seam fastball during his Cy Young Award-winning season in 2020.

MLB took its first step in policing the issue last year by preventing coaches, trainers and clubhouse attendants from providing or administering foreign substances for pitchers, a new regulation that led to the controversial firing of longtime Los Angeles Angels clubhouse attendant Brian Harkins.

This year, MLB’s primary goal, sources said, is to gather information on the issue and also punish the more egregious offenders. Ultimately the league hopes to replace the traditional mud that is used to rub up baseballs with a stickier substance that would prevent pitchers from utilizing other means in order to get a better grip on a ball that is often said to feel too chalky. If the league succeeds in that — a pursuit many throughout the industry question — it hopes to police Rule 6.02 as it is written. Until then, however, that won’t necessarily be the case.

Pitchers are technically only allowed to use the rosin provided on the back of the mound, but the vast majority of pitchers are widely believed to use other substances with varying degrees of stick. In recent years, there has also been talk of teams creating their own substances to distribute to their pitchers.

Roberts, though, believes Bauer is being singled out.

Why?

“I don’t know,” Roberts said. “That’s the only name I’ve heard floated around.”

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Detroit Tigers lose starter Matthew Boyd, reliever Alex Lange to injuries

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Detroit Tigers starter Matthew Boyd and reliever Alex Lange both exited with injuries, but their team still ended a three-game losing streak, beating the Kansas City Royals 10-3 on Monday night.

Boyd departed in the third because of discomfort in his left arm. Lange left after recording just one out in the fifth with shoulder trouble.

“(Boyd) came into that inning and was throwing well,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said. “After a few pitches he called us out. He said he felt a little something in his tricep.”

Boyd told the team trainer that his arm had felt odd the whole inning.

“We immediately removed him from the game. We’re going to send him for some tests. It’s very disappointing on the night because he was throwing the ball well with probably the best fastball he’s had in the last month,” Hinch said.

Hinch said he didn’t know whether Boyd would miss any time.

“I think Lange is going to end up on the injured list from the initial diagnosis,” Hinch said. “He’s had some shoulder issues. I didn’t even get out to the mound. By the time I got to the (foul) line, they were already walking off.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Los Angeles Angels’ Joe Maddon ‘would have no objections’ to Shohei Ohtani hitting and pitching for AL in All-Star Game

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Shohei Ohtani leads American League designated hitters in All-Star Game fan votes by a wide margin. But the Los Angeles Angels‘ two-way sensation also is putting together a spectacular season on the mound, creating the possibility of Ohtani both pitching and hitting at Coors Field in Denver on July 13.

Angels manager Joe Maddon, who has made it a point to ease most of Ohtani’s prior restrictions, wouldn’t be against it.

“Just depends on his day,” Maddon said Monday. “It’s just an inning, and I know that if he’s able to do that, I would have no objections to it. His schedule’s been great, the number of innings pitched, how many pitches he’s thrown I think is in really good order. I don’t see a dramatic spike between now and then. It would just be how he feels and what he thinks about it. I think that would be the way to determine that.

“The fact that he’s such an unusual participant, definitely would like to hear what he has to say about it.”

Ohtani (2-1), who has been better about consistently throwing strikes in recent weeks, has a 2.85 ERA with 68 strikeouts and 28 walks in 47⅓ innings through his first nine starts. He also entered Monday with a .961 OPS and 17 home runs, the latter tied for fifth most in the majors.

Ohtani, 26, had accumulated 526,608 votes in the first ballot update, nearly double the total by Boston Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez (293,757). Ohtani’s teammate, Mike Trout, easily led AL outfielders with 706,503 votes despite not playing since May 17 because of a calf strain. Maddon said Trout is progressing well but is still “at least another month” away from returning off the injured list, tracking him toward the back end of the initial six- to eight-week timetable.

Trout is unlikely to return to the Angels until the season’s second half, making it “a stretch” that he appears in the All-Star Game, Maddon said. But Ohtani is on track to do so. And given his prodigious power, Ohtani also would be an obvious candidate for the Home Run Derby — if the workload isn’t too much of a concern for a player who already takes on such a large burden.

“I’m not as against that as others,” Maddon said of the Home Run Derby. “I just don’t like it when it becomes never-ending. There’s gotta be a more finite method of doing this. It is exhausting, it can be exhausting. But, again, that would be something that I would wanna ask him how he felt about it. He would be honest. I don’t think this is something you wanna attempt to force him to do or not to do. Just like we’ve been dealing with it the entire year — that would be a conversation.”

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Tyler Glasnow of Tampa Bay Rays leaves start with right elbow inflammation

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CHICAGO — Tampa Bay starter Tyler Glasnow left Monday night’s game against the Chicago White Sox after four innings with right elbow inflammation.

Glasnow allowed two runs on three hits and left with Tampa Bay leading 3-2 in a matchup of teams that entered with the two best records in the majors. The 6-foot-8 right-hander walked one and struck out six, throwing 40 of 53 pitches for strikes.

He was replaced by Ryan Thompson in the fifth.

The 27-year-old Glasnow is 5-2 with a 2.66 ERA this season and is 10-2 over his past 21 starts dating to Aug. 12, 2020.

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