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Bauer clarifies tweets after spat with Astros

MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer met with reporters on Wednesday morning to provide some clarification over a series of social-media posts related to the Astros one day earlier.

A number of Bauer's tweets on Tuesday -- centered around how sticky substances can influence the spin rates for pitchers -- were aimed at Houston's pitching staff and stirred a response from a few Astros players. On Wednesday, the Indians pitcher wanted to make it clear that his issue was not specifically with Houston, but with a development that he perceives as a growing problem in baseball.

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CLEVELAND -- Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer met with reporters on Wednesday morning to provide some clarification over a series of social-media posts related to the Astros one day earlier.

A number of Bauer's tweets on Tuesday -- centered around how sticky substances can influence the spin rates for pitchers -- were aimed at Houston's pitching staff and stirred a response from a few Astros players. On Wednesday, the Indians pitcher wanted to make it clear that his issue was not specifically with Houston, but with a development that he perceives as a growing problem in baseball.

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"I want to make it abundantly clear and not mince words on it," Bauer said in his initial statement. "I have no problem with any other organization in the league. None. Regarding the Astros, I think they do a great job of player development. I have no accusations against them at all. I've never made any, and I'm not accusing them of cheating.

"That being said, there is a problem in baseball right now that has to do with sticky substances and spin rates. We might not have had the technology before to measure how sticky stuff affects the ball, how it spins, how it moves. But all that research is clear now. We know how it affects spin rate, and we know how spin rate affects outcomes and pitches and movements that have a big difference in a game, a season and each individual player's career."

Major League Baseball does not allow the use of foreign substances on baseballs.

Bauer, citing his own research from his offseason work at Driveline Baseball, indicated he has found that spin rate can increase around 200-300 revolutions per minute at higher velocities when a substance such as pine tar is applied to the baseball. He said he and other pitchers did a number of tests in Driveline's lab with various types of pine tar, sunscreen and other substances to see if there was any noticeable impact on spin rate. Tests on pitches in a 70-mph range registered spin rate increases of around 300-400 RPM and higher-velocity pitches led to the 200-300 RPM finding.

One of the reasons for the Astros to have come up in Bauer's Twitter posts is the fact that Gerrit Cole -- one of Bauer's former teammates with UCLA -- has seen a significant jump in spin rate on his fastball this season. Cole averaged 2,163 RPM on his four-seamer in 2017, compared to 2,332 RPM this year. There is no love lost between Bauer and Cole, who has a 1.73 ERA through six starts to start this season.

Video: Hinch reacts to Bauer's social media posts on Astros

In his start on Monday, Bauer's four-seamer averaged 2,597 RPM in the first inning -- a noticeable spike over his 2,294 season average, per Statcast™. The right-hander said "no comment" when asked if he applied a substance to the baseball in that outing, but the increase in spin falls within the research he cited.

Bauer said he would be in favor of having the use of a substance to maintain a good grip on the baseball, helping pitchers avoid putting batters at risk. Indians manager Terry Francona did not necessarily disagree with that stance, adding that he liked the early returns from a more tacky prototype baseball that MLB had Cleveland, among other teams, test during Spring Training.

Tweet from @castrovince: MLB had some teams test these balls with a tackier texture in spring training (not in games, to my knowledge). Indians used them in some bullpen sessions. Terry Francona thinks they could eventually be a solution to the foreign substance issue Trevor Bauer has raised this week. pic.twitter.com/4SKEdCUltf

"It's kind of a hard subject, because there are things that are written in the rules," Francona said. "But you've never seen me go out and challenge anybody, because if I feel like somebody is trying to grip the ball, I'm glad. Yeah, they might make a better pitch, but there would not be a worse feeling than, as a hitter, knowing that this guy might let this one fly.

"I think the days of Gaylord Perry are kind of over, those types of things. Guys just want to be able to grab the ball, and I don't think that's a bad thing, either. What happens sometimes is when guys do stuff blatantly, it puts everybody in a tough spot because it's a rule. But, [the pitcher] is just trying to hold the ball."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians, Trevor Bauer