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Rays’ Tyler Glasnow says slickness of baseballs is a big problem

He specifically addressed inconsistencies in preparing the balls for game use on the road, which could have led to his elbow issue.
Rays starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow says the inconsistency in the way balls are rubbed up throughout the league is frustrating.
Rays starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow says the inconsistency in the way balls are rubbed up throughout the league is frustrating. [ CHARLES REX ARBOGAST | Associated Press ]
Published Jun. 15

Rays’ pitcher Tyler Glasnow’s biggest concern is the reason for the tightness and tugging he felt in his right elbow that forced him out of Monday’s game. The severity of the injury will be clarified after an MRI and doctor consultation today in Chicago.

He suggested the cause could be tied to inconsistencies in the slickness of the baseballs that were used Monday at Guaranteed Rate Field, as he was forced to alter his grip.

Glasnow said there have been similar issues at other stadiums, and questioned the uniformity of the process in the way balls are prepared by the home team staff for action, rubbed down with mud, then stored for game use.

“It was extremely slick,” he said. “I don’t know why or — it’s usually on the road. And I’m not accusing anyone who’s on the road of rubbing up balls poorly. I don’t know who does it here ... but it’s just really, extremely inconsistent. Like you’ll get one that has a decent amount of grip, and you’ll get one that’s just covered in dry something. It’s just like powdery. I think it’s just the rubbing mud, and then it’s like stored weirdly. And then some of them are drier than others.

“But just the inconsistency is the most frustrating part about it. And I think having to get a fastball grip and then choke it as hard as you possibly can and then go and try to throw 100 mph is hard. So I just think it’d be nice to get more of like a consistent grip, whatever that is. Doesn’t need to be egregious. It could just be something that is the same every single time, because it’s never the same ever. It’s always different every time you get a ball.”

Glasnow said he has noticed it more on the road, having pitched this season at Miami, Boston, New York (Yankees), Los Angeles (Angels), Oakland and Dunedin, but didn’t want to make accusations.

“It’s honestly everywhere. That’s what I’m saying. I don’t want to say it’s on the road,” he said. “Of course, the conspiracy mind in me is like, when someone has the authority to rub up a ball however they want and then you’re the road team, I think (the opposing team gets) to choose whatever ball you get. ...

“I think it’s a storage thing. When it’s humid, when it’s dry, the balls are completely different. We’re like the only league that doesn’t have a universal feel of a baseball. I don’t know how to accomplish that. It’s a really difficult task. I’m sure they’ve tried. I don’t think anyone’s out here trying to sabotage anybody.”

Glasnow said he didn’t know if the ball issue contributed to his injury, but did say having to tighten his grip can’t be good for elbow.

He raised this point at an interesting time, as major-league officials are about to launch a crackdown on pitchers using illegal substances to get a better grip on baseballs.

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