Mariners’ Héctor Santiago Is First Pitcher Ejected in MLB’s Foreign Substance Crackdown

Santiago said the only substance he used on the mound was rosin, which is allowed under the rules

Héctor Santiago of the Seattle Mariners pitching a ball. The pitcher was the first player ejected in MLB's sticky substance crackdown.
Héctor Santiago of the Seattle Mariners pitches earlier this month.
Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty

A 33-year-old lefty with a career record of 48-51 and an ERA over 4.00, Héctor Santiago will nonetheless have his name recorded in Major League Baseball’s history books.

A reliever for the Seattle Mariners, Santiago became the first MLB pitcher to be ejected from a game as part of the league’s new crackdown on the use of foreign substances on the mound when home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi determined there was something questionable inside his glove during Sunday’s game between the White Sox and the Mariners.

Pitching in the bottom of the fifth inning of a tie ballgame, Santiago had just issued a walk to load the bases and was being taken out when Cuzzi inspected his glove and found what he determined to be an illegal substance.

Speaking after the game, Santiago said the only substance he used on the mound was rosin, which is permitted under the rules. “He (Cuzzi) said he felt some stuff sticky on the inside of the glove,” he said. “All I use is rosin. I use it on both sides (of the glove) … trying to keep that sweat from dripping down onto the hands … It’s just sweat and rosin. They’re going to inspect it, do all the science stuff behind it, and it’s going to end sweat and rosin.”

MLB will now inspect Santiago’s glove to determine if it did contain a banned substance. If the league determines he was using something illegal, Santiago will be suspended for 10 games and the Mariners won’t be able to replace him on the roster.

“It was very noticeable and then the rest of the crew inspected to make sure we were all in agreement,” umpire crew chief Tom Hallion said afterward. “All four agreed that it was a sticky substance and that’s why he was ejected.”

Despite Santiago’s ejection, the Mariners went on to win 3-2 to improve to 41-37 on the season.

Last week, despite a number of pitchers losing their minds about being inspected by umpires, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told The Athletic that enforcement of the new rules had gone nicely.

“My view is the first two days have gone very well,” Manfred said on Wednesday. “We’ve had no ejections (for foreign substances), players in general have been extremely cooperative, the inspections have taken place quickly and between innings. Frankly, the data suggests that we are making progress with respect to the issues (in spin rate) that caused us to undertake the effort in the first place.”

Win the Ultimate Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix Experience

Want the F1 experience of a lifetime? Here’s your chance to win tickets to see Turn 18 Grandstand, one of Ultimate Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix’s most premier grandstands!