TORONTO, ONT – Domingo Germán's hand was coated with something tackier than rosin, umpire James Hoye said after ejecting the New York Yankees pitcher for violating Major League Baseball's rules on sticky substances.
“The instant I looked at his hand, it was extremely shiny and extremely sticky,” the crew chief told a pool reporter after the Yankees beat Toronto 6-3 on Tuesday night. “It’s the stickiest hand I’ve ever felt. My fingers had a hard time coming off his palm.”
Germán denied Hoye’s accusation, saying he didn’t have anything on his hand other than rosin.
“It was definitely just the rosin bag,” Germán said through a translator. “It was sweat and the rosin bag. I don’t need any extra help to grab the baseball.”
Germán's ejection, likely to trigger a 10-game suspension, was the fourth since Major League Baseball started its crackdown on prohibited grip aids two years ago and the second this season. It occurred during the second game of an increasingly acrimonious series between AL East rivals.
“Not ideal, but nothing has been ideal about the start of this season,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Germán retired his first nine batters when his hands were examined by first base umpire D.J. Reyburn as the pitcher headed to the mound for the bottom of the fourth. Other umpires came over along with Boone, and Germán was ejected by Hoye, who was working the plate.
If suspended, Germán cannot be replaced on the roster and the Yankees would be forced to play with 25 men instead of 26.
“I’ve got to apologize to my teammates and my team,” Germán said. “I’m putting them in a tough position right now.”
Hoye's crew examined the 30-year-old right-hander during an April 15 start against Minnesota, when Germán retired his first 16 batters, but allowed him to stay in that game. Hoye had asked Germán to wash rosin off his hand and some had remained on the pitcher's pinkie finger.
“The reality is we should all have a very good idea what the line is,” Boone said. ”Apparently Domingo crossed it tonight.”
Mets pitcher Max Scherzer was suspended for sticky stuff on April 20, and Seattle's Héctor Santiago and Arizona's Caleb Smith were suspended in 2021.
Germán was replaced by Ian Hamilton, who was removed after five batters and 27 pitches because of right groin tightness.
“I think he’s going to be down a little bit,” Boone said.
Aaron Judge was booed during his first two at-bats following allegations of sign stealing Monday. After Judge struck out in the third inning , there was a brief shouting match between Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker and Yankees third base coach Luis Rojas. Walker went to the outfield end of the dugout,, yelling and gesturing at Rojas, a former Mets manager.
Before batting practice, Judge said he doesn’t appreciate being branded a potential cheater after he took a sideways peek before hitting a 462-foot home run in Monday's 7-4 win.
“I’ve got some choice words about that, but I’m just going to keep that off the record,” Judge said.
Across the diamond, Blue Jays manager John Schneider said his team spoke to Major League Baseball about the positioning of New York’s base coaches.
“There’s boxes on the field for a reason,’ Schneider said.
The commissioner's office said it was aware of Monday’s situation and will be paying attention to it, Toronto’s second-year manager said.
Boone said his team also had been in touch with MLB.
“Our understanding is that there will not be any kind of investigation because nothing that went on last night was against the rules,” Boone said.
Houston was penalized for using prohibited electronics to steal signs en route to the 2017 World Series title. There is no rule prohibiting players and coaches from studying opponents with eyes in search of a sign flashed too openly, or for individual tendencies and tells.
Judge said he was upset at the suggestion he was benefitting from sign stealing after the Toronto television broadcast picked up his sideways glance during his eighth inning at-bat against right-hander Jay Jackson.
“I’m not happy about it, but people can say what they want,” Judge said. “I’ve still got a game to play, I’ve got things I’ve got to do. I told you guys what happened and everybody else can make their own story about it if they want.”
Schneider said it’s up to his players to make sure they don’t inadvertently give away pitch locations or signs.
“What’s fair is fair, I think, and if our guys are giving stuff away, we have to be better at that,” Schneider said. “If things are being picked up from people that aren’t in places they should be, that’s where I think the line should be drawn.”
Schneider was then asked whether he was specifically concerned about where opposing base coaches stand.
“Every team kind of has their guard up on that,” Schneider said. “It’s easy to look at a runner at second when you’re hitting, tough to look into the dugout. Probably a little bit easier to look at a coach. There’s boxes on the field for a reason. When it’s a glaring 30 feet where you’re not in that spot, you kind of put two and two together a little bit.”
After Monday’s game, Judge said he looked into his dugout to see which of his teammates was disrupting his at-bat by yelling at plate umpire Clint Vondrak, who had just ejected Boone for arguing a low strike call to Judge.
Schneider said he didn’t think much of Judge’s explanation.
“I’m not in the business of buying post-game media,” Schneider said. “It’s a really accomplished hitter who won the MVP last year. I know that he means nothing but business and wants to win. I just found it a little funny that he was worrying about his dugout while he was in the batter’s box.”