Closing pitcher Edwin ‘Sugar’ Diaz faces suspension for ‘sticky’ substance

Closing pitcher Edwin ‘Sugar’ Diaz faces suspension for ‘sticky’ substance

New York Mets relief pitcher Edwin Díaz reacts after being ejected by their base umpire Vic Carapazza during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs in Chicago on Sunday. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

By Associated Press

June 25, 2024

Díaz would be the eighth pitcher suspended for sticky stuff since MLB cracked down on pitchers attempting to use foreign substances to improve their grip.

CHICAGO  — New York Mets closer Edwin “Sugar” Díaz is facing a 10-game suspension after being ejected from the team’s 5-2 win over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday night for having a foreign substance on his hand.

Díaz would be the eighth pitcher suspended for sticky stuff since MLB cracked down on pitchers attempting to use foreign substances to improve their grip and spin rates in 2021. Three of them have been Mets, including Max Scherzer and Drew Smith last year.

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The right-hander came on in the ninth to try to seal the victory for the Mets, but was tossed by third-base umpire Vic Carapazza before throwing a pitch after an inspection of his glove and throwing hand.

Both Díaz and manager Carlos Mendoza said the umpire said he thought the pitcher had too much of a combination of rosin, sweat, and dirt on his throwing hand.

“The rules are the rules and they made the decision to throw him out,” Mendoza said.

Carapazza, the crew chief, said in a pool report after game it “definitely wasn’t rosin and sweat” on Díaz’s hand.

“We’ve checked thousands of these,” Carapazza said. “I know what that feeling is. This was very sticky.”

Díaz, who said he was “really surprised” by the ejection, was not certain whether he’ll appeal the suspension.

“I use the same thing always,” Díaz said. “I rub rosin and sweat and put my hand in the dirt a little bit to get a grip on the ball.”

He’s the third Mets pitcher to be ejected for such an offense in the last year.

Smith, who was ejected and suspended 10 games last year for a similar offense, got two outs in place of Díaz. Jake Diekman then came in and struck out pinch-hitter Patrick Wisdom for his third save for the Mets, who have won four straight series.

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New York has won 10 of 13 and is 13-6 in June and might need to find a temporary closer for the next two weeks. The Mets begin a two-game series against the visiting Yankees on Tuesday before hosting Houston for three games.

“Look, we’ve been through a lot this year,” Mendoza said. “We’ll find a way to get through it, you know? We’ll continue to piece it together and, yeah, guys are going to have to step up. And I’m pretty confident that we’ll get guys here that are going to be able to get us to the finish line when he’s out.”

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