In the middle of a career performance, New York Yankees starting pitcher Domingo German was asked to wash his hands after sticky stuff was spotted, conceivably increasing his spin rate and pitch quality. Of course, spider tack is banned in the MLB, and pitchers have had to resort to other means of improving their pitch quality, which makes rosin ever more essential.
Rosin is a legal substance in baseball, as pitchers have a bag full of it on the mound, but German prefers to apply it prior to heading out onto the field, which created a bit of confusion for the Minnesota Twins on Saturday afternoon.
In fact, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, argued intensely that German should be ejected for excess use of rosin, which isn’t banned but looked down upon. The umpires gathered to determine a course of action, simply asking him to wash his hands. However, this came a few innings after German had been asked to lower the amount of rosin he was applying, to which he failed to comply.
“[Germán] didn’t fully comply, I would say, with the warning from what I was told, and was still allowed to keep pitching. I just don’t agree with that in principle,” Baldelli said. “I do appreciate the courtesy that pitchers around the league will get when the umpires ask them to remove some of that rosin from their hand. I would expect all teams and all players to get that courtesy and they have and, overall, I think the umpires have done a good job of that.
The Yankees nearly had a much larger situation on their hands:
In the middle of arguably his best game as a professional, tallying 11 strikeouts over 6.1 innings and giving up just one run, German was bewildered and afraid he may get tossed. It is important to note that German needs a translator to understand what the umpires are saying so it is possible things got lost.
“When I went back out, the discussion was intense,” Germán said, via an interpreter. “But I was able to explain that I have a rosin bag that’s in the area of the dugout, where I sit all the time, and he was able to talk that over and understand.”
The entire debacle seems like semantics since rosin is a legal substance, and German is more than fine applying it to his hands to help create more spin. Based on his previous two performances, the 30-year-old starter certainly kicked things into another gear, which raised suspicion. Domingo currently hosts a 3.86 ERA, 2.76 xFIP, 12.21 strikeouts per nine, and a 46.9% ground ball right across 14 innings.
This single performance put German right back into the fold regarding the No. 5 spot in the rotation, especially when Luis Severino and Carlos Rodon return from injury. Clarke Schmidt and Jhony Brito are also fighting for an opportunity to stay in the starting rotation, but if German can continue pitching like he did on Saturday, it will be difficult to remove him.