- Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole said gripping the baseball is “so hard” after his most recent start.
- MLB recently cracked down on pitchers using banned substances, which Cole was suspected of using.
- Cole makes $36 million a year as part of a $324 million contract to pitch for the Yankees.
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Gerrit Cole, a pitcher for the New York Yankees, really wants Major League Baseball to ease up on its ban on sticky substances.
Cole addressed MLB’s new policy, which harshly punishes players caught using foreign substances, after his start against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday and asked the league to work out a new approach with consultation from pitchers.
“It’s so hard to grip the ball!” Cole said during a virtual press conference. “For Pete’s sake, it’s part of the reason why almost every player on the field has had something, regardless if they’re a pitcher or not, to help them control the ball.
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“I don’t have a solution, but again, we are aligned in a lot of areas with the commissioner’s office on this. Please, just talk to us. Please, just work with us. I know you have the hammer here, but we’ve been living in a gray area for so long. I would just hate to see players get hurt. I would hate to see balls start flying at people’s heads,” he added.
Cole, who makes $36 million a year as part of a $324 million contract for the Yankees, was outwardly emotional when he spoke on the topic on Wednesday night.
“I was messing with [my grip] all night. To make a drastic change in the middle of the season is going to be challenging for a lot of people,” he said. “I would encourage the commissioner’s office to continue to talk with us, please, because we’re the ones that throw the ball. They don’t. And we’re the experts in this situation.”
Cole has been a suspected user of banned sticky substances since MLB began its investigation into the issue in May. He gave an awkward nonanswer when he was asked by a reporter whether he’d ever used the substances on June 8, and Minnesota Twins slugger Josh Donaldson accused Cole of using the substances on May 26.
On Monday, Brian Harkins, a former Los Angeles Angels employee, released apparent text messages with Cole, in which the pitcher asked Harkins to supply him with the substances, Sports Illustrated reported.
But Cole is not the first pitcher suspected of using the substances to speak out against MLB for its new penalties.
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow also argued on behalf of using sticky substances on Tuesday, and even blamed his recent elbow injury.
“I 100% believe that contributed to me getting hurt,” Glasnow said of the crackdown. “No doubt. Without a doubt.”
Cole said he’s discussed the issue with Glasnow and has sympathy for his latest injury.
“I feel for the guy in that situation,” Cole said of Glasnow. “We’re all out there trying to compete, and he’s working his tail off trying to compete for his team. And it’s just an unfortunate, it’s just – yeah, man, that’s a bummer.”
But Cole’s own Yankees teammate Giancarlo Stanton has publicly taken the opposing stance on the situation. Stanton said he’s seeing pitches this year that he hasn’t seen before and thinks MLB is right to stop the use of the substances.