Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday that pitchers will be ejected and receive 10-game suspensions for the use of foreign substances on baseballs as part of an expanded policy to prevent competitive advantages in the game.
The policy, which becomes effective Monday, comes amid league lows in batting averages. MLB players hit .232 through August, lower than the record of .237 in 1968. Players hit .236 through May. The league average sat at .238 as of Tuesday afternoon. The strikeout rate of 24% for MLB teams in 2021 is the highest in league history.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a news release: “After an extensive process of repeated warnings without effect, gathering information from current and former players and others across the sport, two months of comprehensive data collection, listening to our fans and thoughtful deliberation, I have determined that new enforcement of foreign substances is needed to level the playing field.” The new policy will allow MLB and Minor League umpires to enforce regular checks or inspections of all pitchers regardless of requests from opposing club managers. Players who refuse to participate in the inspections will receive automatic ejections and suspensions. Additional team employees who help players use or encourage players to use foreign substances also are subject to discipline from the league.