Astros pitcher Ronel Blanco suspended for 10 games after being ejected over

Houston Astros right-hander Ronel Blanco, who threw the season’s only no-hitter on April 1 against the Toronto Blue Jays, has been suspended 10 games and fined an undisclosed amount for violating the league’s foreign substance policy, MLB announced Wednesday. Blanco intends to appeal the suspension, he told The Athletic.

Blanco was ejected from Tuesday’s win against the Oakland Athletics (HOU 2, OAK 1) after umpires conferred and examined his glove prior to the start of the fourth inning. Here’s the ejection:

Manager Joe Espada told reporters after the game that he saw sweat mixed with rosin in Blanco’s glove (via The Athletic). Pitchers are not allowed to apply rosin on their non-pitching hands, however, which may have triggered the ejection.

Blanco will be eligible to play until the appeal is heard. His next start is scheduled for this Sunday, at home against the Milwaukee Brewers. After that, off-days would allow the Astros to push Blanco’s next start back a few days. Houston will have to go with a 25-man roster during the suspension. They can not replace Blanco on the roster.

Umpires conduct regular glove and uniform checks throughout the game to ensure that pitchers are not using banned substances. The league reportedly urged umpires to be more attentive with their checks back in spring 2023.

Blanco, 30, owns a 2.09 ERA (182 ERA+) and a 2.14 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his first eight starts this season. He’d thrown three scoreless frames on Tuesday, surrendering four hits and a walk while striking out four of the 14 batters he had faced. On the whole, Blanco has been a revelation for an Astros club that, earlier this spring, was without an entire rotation’s worth of veteran starting pitchers.

In the past, several other notable pitchers have been ejected and suspended under MLB’s grip-enhancing substance policy. Among those: Texas Rangers ace Max Scherzer, Pittsburgh Pirates minor-league right-hander Domingo Germán, and San Diego Padres closer Robert Suárez. In all, six big-league pitchers have been punished for violating the policy.

Even with Tuesday’s win, the Astros have a 17-25 record on the season, making them among the most disappointing teams in the majors.

Leave a Comment