New York Mets ace Max Scherzer was ejected Wednesday from his start against the Los Angeles Dodgers for apparently having an illegal foreign substance on his glove.
First-base umpire Phil Cuzzi ejected Scherzer, 38, prior to the start of the bottom of the fourth inning after the crew performed a substance check on Scherzer’s glove — the second of the day. After a lengthy discussion in which Scherzer was seen pleading his case, often demonstrably, Cuzzi tossed him, leaving Scherzer in disbelief.
Scherzer was adamant postgame that he did not use any illegal substances – “I’d have to be an absolute idiot to try to do anything when I’m coming back out for the fourth,” Scherzer said – and said that the only things on his hands were sweat, rosin and alcohol that he used to clean his hands.
“(The umpire said) my hand’s too sticky. And I said ‘I swear on my kids’ life I’m not using anything else. This is sweat and rosin. Sweat and rosin.’ I keep saying it, over and over,” Scherzer said. “They touch my hand, they say it’s sticky. Yes, it is, because it’s sweat and rosin. They say ‘it’s too sticky’ and they threw me out because of that.”
Scherzer then had a lengthy discussion with Mets manager Buck Showalter before he left the field.
Follow every game: Latest MLB Scores and Schedules
Sports newsletter:The biggest stories, every morning. And we deliver. Sign up now!
In the second inning, Scherzer had met with umpires for a sticky substances check. Then, prior to the bottom of the third, the crew asked Scherzer to swap out his glove with another one, which he did before he retired the side.
SNY reporter Steve Gelbs said in a report during the broadcast that Scherzer “was adamant to the umpires, shouting constantly: ‘It’s just rosin. It is just the rosin. It is just the rosin.'”
“As far as stickiness, level of stickiness, this was the stickiest that it has been since I’ve been inspecting hands, which now goes back three seasons,” home plate umpire Dan Bellino, the crew chief, said. “Compared to the first inning, the level of stickiness, it was so sticky that when we touched his hand, our fingers were sticking to his hand. And whatever was on there remained on our fingers afterwards for a couple innings, where you could still feel that the fingers were sticking together.”
Scherzer had pitched three scoreless innings, allowing one hit and two walks with three strikeouts before he was replaced by reliever Jimmy Yacabonis. The Mets went on to a 5-3 victory, with Yacabonis getting credit for the win after allowing two hits and one run in 2⅔ innings. “He’s going to get a steak dinner for that,” Scherzer said after the game.
Scherzer will now face an automatic 10-day suspension if the umpiring crew informs the MLB office that he was ejected for the use of an illegal foreign substance. He would have the right to appeal the suspension.
This is not Scherzer’s first incident in dealing with the alleged use of sticky substances. Back in June 2021, while a member of the Washington Nationals, Scherzer had multiple substance checks performed against him after then-Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi requested them.
Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young award winner and eight-time All-Star is in his 16th season in the MLB. He entered Wednesday 2-1 in three starts this season, with a 4.41 ERA and 14 strikeouts against seven walks.
Contributing: The Associated Press