LEADING OFF: MLB begins checking pitchers for sticky stuff

Jun 20, 2021, 6:50 AM | Updated: 7:25 pm

A look at what’s happening around the majors on Monday:


Major League Baseball begins its crackdown against pitchers using sticky substances when umpires start making regular, random mound checks.

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole isn’t sure what to expect.

“I think I’m in the same boat as everyone else, just waiting for this to play out,” he said.

Pitchers will be ejected and suspended for 10 games if caught using foreign substances to doctor baseballs. Such grip aids — ranging from a tacky mix of rosin and sunscreen to heavy duty concoctions designed for use in strongman competitions — have long been illegal, but the ban has rarely been enforced.

Umps will check all starters multiple times and all relievers either at the end of his first inning or when removed, whichever occurs first. Caps, gloves and fingertips will be checked.

“It definitely will be probably a little awkward,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “But we’ll get through it, adjust.”


Jacob deGrom is still listed as a probable starter in a doubleheader against Atlanta and no doubt Mets management, players and fans will be closely watching every pitch the New York ace throws after recent health scares.

The two-time NL Cy Young Award is having a historically dominant season, with an 0.54 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 67 innings, going 6-2 in 11 starts.

But deGrom exited his last start after three perfect innings because of a sore right shoulder, which he might have aggravated taking a swing. In his previous outing, he was pulled after six innings with flexor tendinitis in his pitching arm.

Medical tests haven’t revealed anything significant and deGrom says he feels fine to face the Braves at Citi Field. Plenty of outsiders, naturally, have been pleading for the Mets to give deGrom an extended break.

DeGrom, who turned 33 on Saturday, has been a two-way star for the NL East leaders. He’s batting .423 with six RBIs — he’s allowed only four earned runs this year.


The Diamondbacks have lost a team-record 17 in a row and are nearing the majors’ worst skid of the wild-card era.

Despite RBI hits by Christian Walker and Ketel Marte during a late rally, Arizona lost to the Dodgers 9-8 on Sunday. The Diamondbacks have dropped 30 of 32 and 40 of 45, and have the worst record in the majors at 20-53.

Kansas City lost 19 straight in 2005, the longest drought since baseball began having wild-card playoff teams in 1995.

Merrill Kelly (2-7, 5.40 ERA) starts for Arizona to begin a three-game series at Chase Field against Milwaukee. The Diamondbacks then head to San Diego, hoping to end a major league-record 23-game road losing streak.


Tampa Bay infielder Wander Franco, considered the best prospect in the minors, is on deck to make his big league debut.

The Rays say they plan to promote the 20-year-old Franco from Triple-A Durham on Tuesday. Tampa Bay is off Monday and hosts the Red Sox on Tuesday night.

Franco is a .332 hitter with 145 RBIs in three minor league seasons.

The Rays had the best record in the majors this year until their current six-game losing streak.


More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


France's Kylian Mbappe celebrates with teammate Theo Hernandez after scoring his side's opening goa...
Associated Press

Theo Hernandez wants to win World Cup for France and brother

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Theo Hernandez wants to win the World Cup for France. And for his big brother. Lucas Hernandez was in tears when he ruptured the ACL in his right knee early in France’s 4-1 win against Australia last week. His brother Theo replaced him at left back in a straight swap, even […]
1 day ago
Spectators leave the stands before the end of the second half of the World Cup group E soccer match...
Associated Press

World Cup TV pundit under fire for disparaging Qatari attire

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Former Germany forward Sandro Wagner is under fire for a disparaging remark he made about Qatari men’s traditional attire while commentating for TV during Germany and Spain’s World Cup match on Sunday. Wagner was commentating on the teams’ 1-1 draw for German broadcaster ZDF when he said in the 79th minute […]
1 day ago
Ecuador's Enner Valencia is attended by medical personnel during the World Cup group A soccer match...
Associated Press

Ecuador frets over Valencia ahead of Senegal at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Enner Valencia has scored Ecuador’s last six World Cup goals so there’s no understating how worried his country is after he was carried off the field on a stretcher against the Netherlands . Ecuador hopes that the 33-year-old striker’s troublesome knees are OK for a decisive final group match against Senegal […]
1 day ago
Germany's head coach Hansi Flick attends a news conference on the eve of the group E World Cup socc...
Associated Press

FIFA charges Germany for no player at news conference

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Germany was charged in a disciplinary case by FIFA on Monday, though not for its players’ “hands covering mouths” protest before playing a World Cup game last week. FIFA said it opened a case against the German soccer federation for not bringing players to its mandatory news conferences one day before […]
1 day ago
Head coach Gregg Berhalter of the United States walks on the pitch during an official training sess...
Associated Press

US has clear World Cup task against Iran: win or go home

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The task is clear for the United States: beat Iran in a politically charged World Cup match or go home. U.S. players have been praised as the best generation of American soccer. But they finished third behind Canada and Mexico in World Cup qualifying and now face a must-win final group-stage […]
1 day ago
Head coach Louis van Gaal of the Netherlands applauds prior the start the World Cup group A soccer ...
Associated Press

Netherlands under Van Gaal on cusp of advancing at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The Netherlands is on the verge of reaching the knockout stage at the World Cup and an overwhelming favorite in its final Group A match on Tuesday against host nation Qatar. If the Dutch advance it will put more focus on 71-year-old coach Louis van Gaal, who stepped out of retirement […]
1 day ago
LEADING OFF: MLB begins checking pitchers for sticky stuff