Phillies not worried about Astros’ Valdez odd hand rubbing

Oct 29, 2022, 10:19 AM | Updated: 10:22 pm
Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez, center, speaks with Jeremy Pena, left, on the mound...

Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez, center, speaks with Jeremy Pena, left, on the mound during the seventh inning in Game 2 of baseball's World Series between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

              Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez reacts to call during the first inning in Game 2 of baseball's World Series between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
            
              Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez throws during the third inning in Game 2 of baseball's World Series between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
            
              Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez, center, speaks with Jeremy Pena, left, on the mound during the seventh inning in Game 2 of baseball's World Series between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

HOUSTON (AP) — Philadelphia Phillies manager Rob Thomson says he isn’t concerned about Houston starter Framber Valdez’s unusual hand rubbing during Game 2 of the World Series, downplaying speculation on social media that the left-hander was up to something fishy during a dominant victory.

Videos circulating on the internet showed Valdez repeatedly rubbing his left thumb across his right palm, then rubbing the ball between pitches. Valdez pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning of the Astros’ 5-2 victory, which evened the Series at a win each.

Thomson said Philadelphia’s dugout noticed what Valdez was doing but had no concern that he was adding a foreign substance to the ball.

“Yeah, we did… it’s all over Twitter,” he said. “The umpires check these guys after almost every inning, and if there’s something going on, MLB will take care of it.”

Valdez found it amusing that people thought he was doctoring the ball.

“Nobody should think of it as anything like in the wrong way,” he said via translator. “I do it out in the open. But it’s all tendencies I do. I do it throughout the game. Maybe distract the hitter a little bit from what I’m doing. Like maybe look at me, rubbing different things, and nothing about the pitch that I’m going to throw. I’ve been doing it all season.”

Valdez allowed four hits and one run with nine strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings for his sixth postseason win. That ties Pedro Martinez for most playoff wins by a pitcher born in the Dominican Republic.

Suspicions over illegal grip aids peaked during the 2021 season, prompting Major League Baseball to crack down with in-game umpire checks.

During Game 3 of an NL wild-card series, New York Mets manager Buck Showalter asked umpires to inspect San Diego Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove for illegal goop. They checked the right-hander in several places, including by rubbing his unusually shiny ears, but found no evidence of anything illicit.

Valdez said the hand rubbing is just one of the unorthodox things he likes to do when he pitches. Midway through his outing Saturday, he changed his glove and his spikes — and it turns out — some other things, too.

“I normally have different spikes when I warm up and the ones that I go into the game,” he said. “Today I decided to start the game with the ones I warmed up in. I had a long inning there and I was like: ‘You know what, I’m going to change everything. I’m going to change my glove, my belt, my cleats.’ And those are just things that us Dominicans do, just some tendencies here and there … but just things to stay loose.”

___

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.

AP

Associated Press

UConn women lose 2nd straight game for 1st time since 1993

MILWAUKEE (AP) — UConn lost back-to-back games for the first time in three decades after the fourth-ranked Huskies were beaten 59-52 by Marquette on Wednesday night. The Huskies, who were playing three nights after an 81-77 home loss to No. 1 South Carolina, lost consecutive games for the first time since March 1993. Chloe Marotta […]
19 hours ago
Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) shoots against San Antonio Spurs forward Isaiah Roby (18) ...
Associated Press

Siakam scores 37, Raptors hand Spurs 10th straight loss

TORONTO (AP) — Pascal Siakam had 37 points and 10 rebounds, Fred VanVleet scored 16 points and the Toronto Raptors beat San Antonio 112-98 on Wednesday night, handing the struggling Spurs their 10th consecutive loss. Chris Boucher had 18 points and 11 rebounds off the bench in Toronto’s third straight win. Gary Trent Jr. scored […]
19 hours ago
FILE - Sheryl Lee Ralph arrives at AARP's 21st annual Movies for Grownups Awards on Saturday, Jan. ...
Associated Press

At Super Bowl, Sheryl Lee Ralph seeks to ‘Lift Every Voice’

PHOENIX (AP) — Sheryl Lee Ralph is living a career dream: The “Abbott Elementary” star won her first Emmy last year and will lend her powerful vocals as a Super Bowl pregame performer this weekend. With all her success, the veteran actor-singer only wishes her late parents were living to witness her recent accomplishments. “I […]
19 hours ago
Charlotte Hornets center Mark Williams (5) blocks a shot by Washington Wizards center Kristaps Porz...
Associated Press

Porzingis makes eight 3s as Wizards beat Hornets, end skid

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kristaps Porzingis scored 36 points and matched a career high with eight 3-pointers, and the Washington Wizards beat the Charlotte Hornets 118-104 on Wednesday night to stop a three-game skid. Deni Avdija had 20 points and 12 rebounds and Bradley Beal had 17 points and 10 assists for the Wizards, who broke […]
19 hours ago
Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen (31) plays against Detroit Pistons center Jalen Duren (0) ...
Associated Press

Allen, Mobley power Cavaliers to 113-85 win over Pistons

CLEVELAND (AP) — Jarrett Allen scored 20 points, Evan Mobley added 19 and the Cleveland Cavaliers won their fourth straight game, 113-85 over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night despite resting their starting backcourt. All-Star starter Donovan Mitchell (groin) and Darius Garland (thumb) got the night off to heal some nagging injuries and the Cavs […]
19 hours ago
Vanderbilt guard Jordan Wright (4) drives against Tennessee guard Santiago Vescovi during the first...
Associated Press

Vandy stuns No. 6 Tennessee on Lawrence’s buzzer-beating 3

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tyrin Lawrence knocked down a 3-pointer from the right corner at the buzzer as the Vanderbilt Commodores snapped an 11-game skid against its in-state rival by upsetting sixth-ranked Tennessee 66-65 Wednesday night. Students rushed the court and joined the Commodores in celebrating easily the biggest win in coach Jerry Stackhouse’s fourth […]
19 hours ago
Phillies not worried about Astros’ Valdez odd hand rubbing