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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Dodgers’ Dave Roberts Hopes MLB Isn’t Singling Trevor Bauer out over Baseballs

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Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave
Roberts said Friday umpires have been collecting baseballs from all
pitchers early in the 2021 season, so he’s curious why Dodgers
starter Trevor Bauer is the only one who’s been mentioned publicly.

“I hope that our player has not
been singled out,” Roberts told reporters. “… That’s the only
name I’ve heard floated.”

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported
Thursday multiple baseballs from Bauer’s most recent start, a 4-3
loss to the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday, were collected and MLB sources said they
had “visible markings and were sticky.” They were sent to the league
office for further inspection.

Roberts said he didn’t expect Bauer to
face any discipline stemming from the situation, and an MLB general
manager told Rosenthal it would be difficult to punish a player
without direct evidence.

“I don’t believe unless you can catch
somebody in the act, doing it in the moment, and you get something on
their hand or on their person, that you can truly prove 100 percent
that they are doing it,” the GM said. “We all know. But to
suspend somebody for 10 games, you’ve got to have real evidence.”

Bauer responded to Thursday’s report on
Twitter:

Trevor Bauer @BauerOutage

balls from every other pitcher being taken out of play in literally every other game this season are? Also lol to @MLB who already has “sources” talking to gossip bloggers about a supposedly confidential process a week into the season 😂😂😂 thumbs up y’all keep killin it! 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

In March, ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported
MLB sent a memo to all 30 clubs saying it was going to crack down on
the use of foreign substances on the baseball through a review of
balls taken out of play, an analysis of spin-rate data and increase
clubhouse surveillance.

Mike Hill, the league’s executive vice
president of baseball operations, wrote players would be “subject
to discipline … regardless of whether evidence of the violation has
been discovered during or following a game.”

One MLB team executive told Rosenthal
he wants the league to send a strong message to discourage the use of
substances on the ball.

“Count it as a PED, ban someone 20
games for it, we’ll see how often people want to take chances then,” the executive said. “It’s outrageous—there is a 20 to 30 percent
improvement on breaking balls with it. Just can’t be allowed.”

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles
Times
reported the Players Association would “challenge any
discipline” not covered by MLB rules.

In February 2020, Bauer estimated in a
piece for The Players’ Tribune around 70 percent of MLB pitchers use
some type of “technically illegal substance on the ball,” which
he later described on HBO’s Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel as a “bigger advantage than steroids ever were,” per Jordan Heck of Sporting News.

Analysis by Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer
found Bauer’s spin rate increased dramatically late in the 2019
season

Bauer proceeded to post a career-low
1.73 ERA with 100 strikeouts in 73 innings in 11 starts for the
Cincinnati Reds during the 2020 season to win the NL Cy Young Award.
He signed a three-year, $102 million contract with the Dodgers during
the offseason.

His next start is scheduled for
Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies.

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