Trevor Bauer’s Game-Used Baseballs Under Inspection by MLB for Foreign Substances

Trevor Bauer’s Game-Used Baseballs Under Inspection by MLB for Foreign Substances article feature image
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Justin Edmonds/Getty Images. Pictured: Trevor Bauer

Trevor Bauer, the player most vocal about pitchers using foreign substances on baseballs, is one of the first publicly known players being investigated for doing just that.

According to a report by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, multiple baseballs were collected from Bauer’s latest start and sent to the league office after they were found to have “visible markings and were sticky”.

The league has said it wants to clean up the use of foreign substances on baseballs, which has been used to both control the ball better and increase spin rate. Bauer brought attention to the issue in 2018 when former UCLA teammate and then-Houston Astros starter Gerrit Cole re-emerged as a front-end ace. Then in 2020, Bauer’s spin rates reached career highs when he won the NL Cy Young in the 60-game season.

Bauer’s Dodgers lost on Wednesday — the start in question — as a -168 betting favorite to the Athletics, 4-3. He allowed two runs in 6.2 innings with 10 strikeouts. As of Thursday night, he was +800 at PointsBet to win the NL Cy Young Award, second to only Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets.

The Athletic report cites the rulebook which says players are subject to discipline “regardless of whether evidence of the violation has been discovered during or following a game.”

Legalized sports betting across the country only makes stories like this more relevant and harder to ignore. Just like the case of the NHL official discussing a potential make-up call, pitchers using sticky substances on baseball is hardly a secret. But as the topic gets more attention and baseball prioritizes enforcing these rules, more instances are likely to be found.

Bauer is in the first year of a three-year, $102-million deal he signed in the offseason following that Cy Young year when he finished with a 1.73 ERA. It was just the second time in his parts of 10 big-league seasons he’s had an ERA under 4.18.

Now in the market of Los Angeles as the game’s highest-paid pitcher per year, the spotlight is on Bauer even more than before. While he declined comment to The Athletic, he turned to Twitter to address the story while not denying it.

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