Trevor Bauer blasts MLB after report balls were inspected

Trevor Bauer accused Major League Baseball on Thursday of leaking a story it was inspecting baseballs he used during his start against the Oakland Athletics to determine whether he doctored them.

Citing major-league sources, The Athletic reported umpires gathered balls used throughout the Dodgers right-handed pitcher’s outing. The report stated “the balls had visible markings and were sticky.” Bauer held Oakland to two runs on three hits with 10 strikeouts across 6 2/3 innings.

“Lol always fun reading desperate and misleading clickbait headlines from national gossip bloggers,” Bauer tweeted. “To translate fake journalist speak for y’all, “It’s unclear whether” = “I can’t be bothered to look into this cuz it doesn’t fit my narrative.”

Bauer continued: “Wonder where the articles about balls from every other pitcher being taken out of play in literally every other game this season are? Also lol to @MLB who already has “sources” talking to gossip bloggers about a supposedly confidential process a week into the season thumbs up y’all keep killin it!”

Two league officials said umpires are instructed to collect balls from every game, including every pitcher, to then be sent to an authenticator. MLB informed teams last month the league would crack down on pitchers using foreign substances to doctor balls.

“We have instructed umpires, GCMs, ECOs, and Authenticators to submit baseballs that come out of play to the Commissioner’s Office for further inspection and documentation,” a memo sent to the clubs read. “They will prioritize baseballs that contain potential evidence of a foreign substance, but also will randomly select balls to ensure full coverage.”

The Athletic reported the balls collected during Bauer’s start Wednesday were brought to the umpires’ attention. A league official did not say whether a pitcher would face discipline if the league determined he used a foreign substance.

People familiar with the union’s thinking said discipline issued outside the bounds of the current rules would face an immediate challenge and any investigatory leaks would only undermine efforts to explore rule changes in this area.

Bauer has been an outspoken critic of MLB’s efforts to police the use of foreign substances. In a tweet in 2018, Bauer implied the Houston Astros doctored baseballs to increase spin rates.

Bauer that year also tweeted that he could increase his spin rate on his four-seam fastball by 400 rpm if he used pine tar. Last season, his four-seam fastball increased by 400 rpm and led the majors in spin rate. He finished the 60-game campaign with a 1.73 ERA and won the National League Cy Young award.

In a video posted on his YouTube channel March 25 in response to the memo, Bauer questioned whether the league could accurately determine whether a pitcher applied a foreign substance on a baseball and criticized the league’s effort.

“They’re going to, after the game, be able to go back and if you tested positive — or if your baseball tested positive for a foreign substance — they’re going to be able to suspend you or discipline you or whatever the case may be,” Bauer said in the video. “I have a problem with that.”

Times staff writer Bill Shaikin contributed to this story.

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