One of MLB's best pitchers gave an eye-opening explanation of why he likes using banned sticky substances while pitching
- Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow blamed his elbow injury on throwing without any sticky substances.
- Glasnow said he had to change his grip and mechanics and woke up incredibly sore.
- MLB has begun a crackdown on sticky substances which Glasnow said should wait until the offseason.
Amid MLB's crackdown on pitchers using sticky substances to better grip the baseball, Tampa Bay Rays ace Tyler Glasnow stood up for his preference to use such substances.
Pitchers have been alleged to use substances like pine tar, sunscreen, rosin, and Spider Tack to better grip the ball. That enhanced grip allows them to have better command on their pitches, even increasing the spin rate to make it harder for batters to hit.
MLB prohibits doctoring the ball in any way. As strikeouts sky-rocketed this season, the league has made an effort to crack down on the use of sticky substances.
On Tuesday, Glasnow, who ranks second in strikeouts this season, blamed the crackdown on an elbow injury that will keep him out indefinitely.
"I 100% believe that contributed to me getting hurt," Glasnow said of the crackdown. "No doubt. Without a doubt."
Glasnow told reporters that he has used sunscreen and rosin to better grip the ball and laughed at the idea that it's a rare practice.
"It's ridiculous that it seems like this whole public perception of like, 'Oh, it's just a select few people.' Your favorite pitcher 50 years ago was probably using something, too.
"If you felt these balls, how inconsistent they were, you have to use something."
Glasnow went on to explain how during an outing against the Washington Nationals on June 8, he tried pitching without any sticky substances. He said while he pitched well, the next day he felt incredible soreness in his arm.
"I threw to the Nationals with nothing ... I did well against the Nationals. Probably one of my best starts I had all year," Glasnow said. "I woke up the next day and was like, I am sore in places that I didn't even know I had muscles. I felt completely different."
Glasnow said that without any substances for grip, he had to change the grip on his pitches, digging the ball deeper into his hand and gripping it harder.
"I'm not a doctor - I know you guys probably know that. But I'm taking a fastball, I'm squeezing the ball twice as hard. So all of this - I'm recruiting all of these muscles," Glasnow said, flexing his forearm. "And I'm taking my arm as hard as I can, throwing the ball. So I'm going from, like, a flexed muscle to letting the ball go.
He added: "Waking up, I was like, okay, this sucks. Something is weird here. And then that same feeling is persisting all week long. I go into my start [Monday] and that same feeling, it pops, or whatever the hell happened to my elbow."
Glasnow said that MLB implementing the changes midseason gives pitchers little time to adjust.
"Do it in the offseason. Give us a chance to adjust to it. But I just threw 80 innings, then you tell me I can't use anything in the middle of the year. I have to change everything I've been doing the entire season. I'm telling you I truly believe that's why I got hurt."
There is little agreement on the subject across MLB. Some hitters have complained that they have faced increasingly unhittable pitches, arguing that sticky substances should be banned.
Others, like Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, have said pitchers should be allowed to use substances to grip the balls to reduce the risk of batters being hit by pitches. The concern about wild pitches has been a frequent argument to allow certain substances.
"The only thing I learned was that it hurts to throw a ball in the middle of the season from having something to not having something," Glasnow said.
Watch a clip of his comments below:
-Sports by Tampa Bay Times (@TBTimes_Sports) June 15, 2021
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