Caleb Smith suspended for illegal substance

August 25th, 2021

D-backs left-hander received a 10-game suspension and an undisclosed fine on Tuesday for possessing a foreign substance on his glove during last Wednesday’s game against the Phillies, as announced by Michael Hill, Major League Baseball’s senior vice president for on-field operations.

Smith has elected to appeal the ruling, meaning he can continue to pitch until that process is complete. He was in the bullpen for Arizona’s game against Pittsburgh at PNC Park on Tuesday night.

“I think he’s extremely frustrated. He’s frustrated because he’s been accused of some wrongdoing that he feels is not justified,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “That’s why I think he wants to appeal this -- he wants to be heard and he wants to get his story out there.”

When Smith was ejected last Wednesday following a routine umpire inspection after the top of the eighth inning, he was adamant that he didn’t have an illegal substance on his glove. Smith said the stuff that third-base umpire Phil Cuzzi found was a combination of rosin and dirt. The glove was immediately removed from the field and sent to MLB offices for testing.

"It’s dirt," Smith said after that game. "The inside of my glove is baby blue, where my hand goes in is blue. Last time I checked, we play baseball and you get dirty in baseball; you sweat a lot. I touch the dirt a lot. There’s not a foreign substance on there. There’s not pine tar. There’s nothing on there. I don’t use that. I was very surprised.”

Smith is the second player to receive a suspension and fine since MLB enhanced its enforcement of the rules prohibiting the usage of foreign substances in June. Mariners left-hander Héctor Santiago was ejected from a June 27 game vs. the White Sox. He appealed his 10-game suspension, but it was upheld.