Santiago 10-game suspension upheld for foreign substance

Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — The 10-game suspension for Seattle Mariners pitcher Hector Santiago for violating baseball’s sticky substance rules was upheld Thursday by MLB special adviser John McHale Jr.

Santiago will start serving the suspension Friday, when the Mariners open their post-All-Star break schedule at the Los Angeles Angels.

Santiago was suspended by Michael Hill, the former Marlins general manager who is Major League Baseball’s senior vice president for on-field operations, on June 30, two days after the 33-year-old left-hander became the first player suspended under MLB’s crackdown on unauthorized sticky substances. Santiago also was fined.

McHale heard the appeal on July 8 in Seattle.

Santiago is in his 10th major league season, his first with the Mariners.

His suspension is with pay. Santiago’s contract calls for a $700,000 salary while in the major leagues and $150,000 while in the minors.

Under a crackdown that started June 21, all pitchers are being checked by umpires during games for illicit grip aids and Santiago was examined as he exited in the fifth inning.

Crew chief Tom Hallion said then that Santiago was ejected for “having a foreign substance that was sticky on the inside palm of his glove.” The pitcher said what the umpires found was a combination of rosin and sweat.

Santiago started this season at Triple-A and made his big league season debut with the Mariners on June 1. He is 1-1 with a 3.33 ERA in 12 games.

Seattle is not be allowed to fill Santiago’s spot on its 26-man roster roster during a suspension and will play a man short while a penalty is served.

Report: Brandon Nimmo staying with Mets on 8-year, $162M deal

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK – Center fielder Brandon Nimmo is staying with the free-spending New York Mets, agreeing to an eight-year, $162 million contract, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreement is subject to a successful physical and no announcement had been made.

A quality leadoff hitter with an excellent eye and a .385 career on-base percentage, Nimmo became a free agent last month for the first time. He was a key performer as the Mets returned to the playoffs this year for the first time since 2016.

The left-handed hitter batted .274 with 16 homers and a team-high 102 runs, a career high. He also set career bests with 64 RBIs and 151 games played. His seven triples tied for most in the National League.

Bringing back Nimmo means New York is poised to return its entire everyday lineup intact from a team that tied for fifth in the majors in runs and won 101 regular-season games – second-most in franchise history.

But the Mets remain busy replenishing a pitching staff gutted by free agency, including Jacob deGrom‘s departure for Texas and Taijuan Walker‘s deal with Philadelphia that was pending a physical.

On the final day of baseball’s winter meetings Wednesday, the Mets completed an $86.7 million, two-year contract with former Houston ace Justin Verlander that includes a conditional $35 million player option for 2025. New York also retained All-Star closer Edwin Diaz last month with a $102 million, five-year contract, and the team has a $26 million, two-year agreement in place with veteran starter Jose Quintana, pending a physical.

Those moves add to a payroll that was the largest in the majors last season. Under owner Steve Cohen, who bought the Mets in November 2020, New York became baseball’s biggest spender this year for the first time since 1989. The Mets’ payroll was $273.9 million as of Aug. 31, with final figures that include bonuses yet to be compiled.

Nimmo was selected by New York with the No. 13 pick in the 2011 amateur draft. He declined a $19.65 million qualifying offer from the Mets last month.

The 29-year-old Wyoming native made his big league debut in 2016. He is a .269 career hitter with 63 homers, 213 RBIs and 23 triples in 608 games. He has an .827 career OPS and has improved his play in center, becoming a solid defender.

Nimmo’s new deal with the Mets was first reported by the New York Post.