Cubs say first night of pitcher inspections went smoothly
Day One of the MLB pitcher inspections seemed to go off without a hitch.
Adbert Alzolay was the first Cubs pitcher to get checked for illegal substances after the top of the first inning on Monday. The same thing happened with Kyle Hendricks on Tuesday at Wrigley Field.
"It was pretty normal, I think," Alzolay said after the game. "I guess that's what MLB wants to do, so they just checked my hat, checked my glove, made sure everything was OK. It was easy, it wasn't too much problem or anything.
"They're out there doing their job, too. They got to make sure to follow all the protocols, so I felt they were fine with it too."
Alzolay said he got a memo the morning of the game telling him what to expect. Cubs manager David Ross was able to witness the inspections, which were conducted by two of the four umpires.
"It went smooth, " Ross said. "They were very appreciative of the pitchers taking the time and understanding it isn't always the perfect moment. It went really smooth."
The plan is to check each starting pitcher twice and relievers once. It's all part of a quest to crack down on illegal sticky substances that pitchers have been using to improve their grip on the ball. In the two weeks since a warning went into effect, spin rates are measurably down and hitting stats are up.
If a pitcher is caught with something illegal, they are subject to ejection and a 10-game suspension without pay. Fittingly, MLB's most dominant pitcher was the first one to undergo inspection, with the Mets Jacob deGrom throwing in an early-starting doubleheader.
"I expected it," deGrom said, according to the New York Daily News. "I said 'What all do you guys need?' They said 'glove, hat and belt.' I handed them that stuff and went along my way."