PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Caleb Smith has been suspended for 10 games by Major League Baseball due to the use of a foreign substance during a relief appearance last Wednesday, according to MLB.
Smith is appealing the suspension, according to the Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro. Smith said after last Wednesday's game that he would appeal if he got suspended.
"Absolutely (I would appeal a suspension) because if they said that they find something on it, that's [expletive] because there is nothing on it. If I was cheating and I got caught, I would own up to it. But, I wasn't cheating. So, I would definitely have a problem with that."
If Smith loses the appeal and is suspended, the D-Backs will not be allowed to replace him on their roster and he would become the 2nd pitcher to be suspended for using a foreign substance since MLB's crackdown in June. The first was the Seattle Mariners' Héctor Santiago.
It is not known how long the appeal process may take. Santiago also appealed his suspension, and it was upheld 19 days after he was ejected on June 27.
Smith came into last Wednesday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies in the 6th inning. His glove was checked after that inning and passed inspection. However, when it was checked after the 8th inning, an umpire found two suspicious spots on the inside of the glove.
Smith's glove was then confiscated and sent to MLB for testing, where it tested positive for a foreign substance. The specific substance has not been announced.
Smith was then ejected from the game, which the D-Backs went on to win 4-2.
After the game, Smith was adamant that he was not cheating.
"I'm really pissed," Smith said. "Like I said, if I was cheating, I would be the first one to say 'hey, you caught me, I was cheating.' I'm not stupid. I know the main two things they check are your glove and your hat. If I'm using something, which I wasn't, I wouldn't put it in my glove or my hat. I mean, that's just ignorant."
Manager Torey Lovullo said Smith told him he was not cheating and Lovullo believes him.
"I feel terrible for Caleb," Lovullo said. "I had about 10 seconds with him before I went over to the umpires and he said, 'I'm not cheating, Torey.' I'm always going to side with a player when he looks me square in the eyes and tells me that. I've never seen any evidence of him acting maliciously."
Lovullo said that the spots in Smith's glove were the result of rosin and dirt. Smith said that he uses rosin, which is legal, at the beginning of every inning, and dirt throughout the game to help him get a better grip on the ball.
"If I was using anything, I wouldn't be going to the dirt after every pitch, like I do, or licking my fingers," Smith said. "I'm not going to lick my fingers if there's pine tar on my hand. With it being in my glove, like my glove hand, I don't ever touch the ball with my glove hand. My glove stays on. The only time it comes off is whenever, like, to start the inning when I throw my warmup pitches, I take my glove off, grab the rosin and then apply it to my left hand and that's it."
Smith was also upset by this situation, as he said it smears his name.
"IIf I cheated, I would own up to it, but (the umpires), I guess, are saying I cheated, and just by doing that, it drags my name through the mud," Smith said. "People are just going to go with it. They're just dragging my name through the mud."
Until an appeal decision is announced, Smith will be available to pitch for Arizona. He pitched in Sunday's game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver. He pitched two innings, giving up two hits and two runs.
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