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#pounditSunday, October 17, 2021

MLB investigating Trevor Bauer for possible cheating

Trevor Bauer

Major League Baseball is serious about cracking down on pitchers using foreign substances, and is investigating one high-profile ace for possibly doing just that.

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, MLB has collected “multiple” baseballs thrown by Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer during Wednesday’s start against the Oakland Athletics. A source said the baseballs had “visible markings and were sticky.”

It’s not clear what the league could do even if it does determine that some sort of foreign substance was used on the baseballs. Commissioner Rob Manfred could seek to fine or suspend Bauer, but it would be difficult to prove that Bauer was the one who applied the substances to the baseball. Without that strong evidence, any punishment seems unlikely to stand on appeal.

In late March, MLB sent a memo to all 30 clubs informing them that the league would be using Statcast data on spin rates to analyze whether pitchers’ spin rates significantly differed from their career norms. A source said that was not involved in the Bauer baseballs getting flagged, adding that the balls were simply brought to the attention of umpires.

Bauer has long been outspoken about players seeking illegal advantages throughout the sport. In fact, in 2018, he openly questioned whether Houston Astros pitchers were using illegal substances to increase the spin rates on their pitches. It would turn out to be quite ironic if Bauer turned out to be doing something similar, but for now, there’s no firm evidence that is what happened.

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