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Astros pitcher Ronel Blanco suspended for 10 games after being ejected over foreign-substance check vs. A’s

Written by on May 15, 2024

Houston Astros right-hander Ronel Blanco, who threw the season’s only no-hitter on April 1 against the Toronto Blue Jays, has been suspended 10 games and fined an undisclosed amount for violating the league’s foreign substance policy, MLB announced Wednesday. The suspension begins immediately and Blanco will not appeal, GM Dana Brown said (via The Athletic).

Blanco was ejected from Tuesday’s win against the Oakland Athletics (HOU 2, OAK 1) after umpires conferred and examined his glove prior to the start of the fourth inning. Here’s the ejection:

Manager Joe Espada told reporters after the game that he saw sweat mixed with rosin in Blanco’s glove (via The Athletic). Pitchers are not allowed to apply rosin on their non-pitching hands, however, which may have triggered the ejection.

The Astros were already planning to use a six-man rotation in the coming weeks, so they’ll simply shift back to a five-man rotation during Blanco’s suspension. Spencer Arrighetti, Hunter Brown, Cristian Javier, Framber Valdez, and Justin Verlander are Houston’s other five starters. Blanco’s next scheduled start was this Sunday, at home against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Houston must play with a 25-man roster during Blanco’s suspension. They can not replace him on the roster. Umpires conduct regular glove and uniform checks throughout the game to ensure that pitchers are not using banned substances. The league reportedly urged umpires to be more attentive with their checks back in spring 2023

Blanco, 30, owns a 2.09 ERA (182 ERA+) and a 2.14 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his first eight starts. He’d thrown three scoreless frames on Tuesday, surrendering four hits and a walk while striking out four of the 14 batters he had faced. On the whole, Blanco has been a revelation for an Astros club that, earlier this spring, was without an entire rotation’s worth of veteran starting pitchers.

In the past, several other notable pitchers have been ejected and suspended under MLB’s grip-enhancing substance policy. Among those: Texas Rangers ace Max Scherzer, Pittsburgh Pirates minor-league right-hander Domingo Germán, and San Diego Padres closer Robert Suárez. In all, six big-league pitchers have been punished for violating the policy.

Even with Tuesday’s win, the Astros have a 17-25 record on the season, making them among the most disappointing teams in the majors.

The post Astros pitcher Ronel Blanco suspended for 10 games after being ejected over foreign-substance check vs. A’s first appeared on CBS Sports.

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