Brewers reliever Will Smith was ejected from Thursday’s game against the Braves in the bottom of the seventh inning after he was found to have a foreign substance on his non-throwing arm.
Smith entered the game in relief of Matt Garza and hit Pedro Ciriaco with a pitch before throwing a first-pitch strike to Jace Peterson. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez then asked the umpires to check for a substance near Smith’s right wrist/forearm area. It looked a lot like Vaseline, which he could use to change the movement of his pitches. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes that Smith was furious after he was ejected and was gesturing toward the Braves’ dugout as he walked off the field.
Below is a video of the exchange as well as a picture of the substance on Smith’s arm. It’s not hard to spot.
Here’s the explanation from Smith, who said he was only using the substance for grip:
And here are some interesting thoughts from Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman. Similar to the Michael Pineda situation from last year, it’s all quite silly when you really think about it:
Masahiro Tanaka took his first step toward rejoining the Yankees rotation tonight by tossing three scoreless innings in a minor league rehab start with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Tanaka, who landed on the disabled list one month ago with a mild right forearm strain and right wrist tendinitis, allowed two hits while walking none and striking out a pair. David Lennon of New York Newsday notes that he threw 25 out of 41 pitches for strikes and sat in the 89-92 mph range with his fastball. Perhaps most importantly, he felt good:
The Yankees will likely have Tanaka get stretched out with one or two more rehab starts before activating him.
Amid questions about the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow, Tanaka had a 3.22 ERA and 24/7 K/BB ratio in 22 1/3 innings over his first four starts this season prior to being placed on the disabled list.
The Phillies shopped Ryan Howard all winter and GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. said at one point that they’d be better off without him, but the veteran first baseman continues to show that there’s still some life remaining in his bat. Check out this blast against the Rockies today:
Part of the reason I posted this video was to show the kid who caught the home run ball and his celebratory reaction. You have to smile watching that.
Howard took advantage of Coors Field by going deep in each of the last two days and is now up to nine home runs on the year. All nine of his home runs have come since April 21. Only Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton have hit more in the same timespan. That’s some pretty decent company.
Yan Gomes has been sidelined since April 11 due to an MCL sprain in his right knee, but Indians manager Terry Francona told Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer today that he’s on track to be activated from the disabled list for Sunday’s game against the Reds.
Gomes was originally expected to miss 6-8 weeks with the injury, so he’s going to be back at the low end of that timetable. The 27-year-old has three hits in nine at-bats with two walks over four minor league rehab games and is gradually being stretched out to nine innings behind the plate.
Gomes batted .284/.325/.476 between 2013-2014, good enough for a 124 OPS+. Getting him back in the lineup and behind the plate is going to be huge for Cleveland.
More health issues for Shane Victorino, as Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com was told by Red Sox manager John Farrell that the veteran outfielder was scratched from tonight’s lineup against the Rangers due to “general overall soreness” which is “centralized somewhat” in his left calf. That’s a pretty specific description for something so general. At least it isn’t his back or hamstring again. The hope is that he’ll be ready to go soon.
Victorino hasn’t started a game since Sunday against the Mariners, but that’s because he’s only been playing against lefties. He was slated to do that tonight with Wandy Rodriguez on the hill for Texas, but now Daniel Nava will play right field. The wait for Rusney Castillo continues.
Victorino is 8-for-19 (.421) with a homer and a double since returning from the disabled list earlier this month.