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:
Another fan was struck by a line drive foul ball during Sunday’s game between the Rockies and Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, Mike DiGiovanna and Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times report. The ball was hit by Cody Bellinger in the first inning, going just beyond where the protective netting ends at the first-base dugout, striking a young woman in the head. Play was delayed for two minutes while the woman received medical attention. She initially stayed in her seat holding an ice pack to her head but was taken to a hospital for evaluation. According to someone in the Dodger Stadium first-aid office, the girl was alert and responding.
After the game, Bellinger said, “It was weird. It’s the first time I think I’ve hit a fan. I saw it literally hit her face. That was tough. I just tried to regroup. I’m sure it was tough for everyone.” He added, “I went over the next half-inning just to make sure she was all right. She said she was all right. She gave me a thumbs up. Obviously, it’s a scary situation.”
Both Bellinger and manager Dave Roberts expressed support for extending the protective netting at Dodger Stadium. [Update: Netting will be extended, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports.]
Bellinger was involved in yet another incident involving a fan later in the game. According to Michael Duarte of NBC Los Angeles, a 14-year-old girl ran on the field in the ninth inning. Bellinger said the girl came up to him and said, “I want a hug.” As she hugged Bellinger, a security guard tackled her. Bellinger said to her, “You know you’re going to jail?” She replied, “Yeah, I know. It was worth it.”