Santiago appeals illegal substance penalty

June 30th, 2021

Mariners left-hander has been suspended 10 games and has received an undisclosed fine for having a foreign substance on his glove during Sunday's game against the White Sox, MLB announced Tuesday.

Santiago is appealing the suspension, which would have been scheduled to begin Tuesday.

Santiago was the first pitcher to be ejected under MLB's new guidelines regarding foreign substances. He was ejected in the fifth inning Sunday after being checked by home-plate umpire Phil Cuzzi for grip-enhancing agents.

“Just to be clear, there was no foreign substance on his glove. It was rosin, and rosin is behind the pitcher's mound, so it's not foreign. It's not a foreign substance,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said prior to Tuesday’s game. “So I am surprised to some degree, but you know, I understand what Major League Baseball is trying to do.”

After the game, Santiago said he was using only legal rosin, which mixed with his sweat on a hot day that included temperatures in the mid-80s and near-90 percent humidity. Santiago said the umpires told him the issue was a sticky substance on his glove and glove hand, not anything on his pitching hand.

"I wasn't using anything besides rosin," Santiago said. "That’s what's given to us, because going into this one, once it came up, I was just like, 'I'm going to use rosin. That's what we got. I don't want this to be a big thing. I don't want this to happen to me.' And [Cuzzi] said he just felt some stuff sticky on the inside of the glove. So all I used was rosin."

The 33-year-old Santiago has a 2.65 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 17 innings over nine relief appearances in his first season with the Mariners.

“Knowing Héctor and having been around him for a number of years -- not just here but I was in Anaheim when he was over there, too,” Servais said. “He’s been a huge component as far as taking a leadership role in our clubhouse. He is going through the appeal process, and we'll wait and see where it goes from there.”