Mets closer Edwin Díaz suspended 10 games after being ejected vs Cubs for foreign substance on hand


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NEW YORK — New York Mets closer Edwin Díaz was suspended 10 games on Monday by Major League Baseball after his ejection from a 5-2 win over the Chicago Cubs for having a foreign substance on his hand.

Díaz became the eighth pitcher suspended for sticky stuff since MLB cracked down on pitchers attempting to use foreign substances to improve their grip and spin rates in 2021. Three of them have been Mets, including Max Scherzer and Drew Smith last year.

Houston's Ronel Blanco was suspended on May 15.

Díaz's suspension, issued by MLB senior vice president of on-field operations Michael Hill, will start with Tuesday's Subway Series opener against the New York Yankees at Citi Field unless the pitcher appeals to MLB special assistant John McHale Jr. If Díaz appeals, the penalty would be held in abeyance until the disciplinary process is complete.

After the two-game series, the Mets host three games against Houston. They would have to player short a man during a suspension.

The 30-year-old Díaz came on in the ninth to try to seal the victory for the Mets on Sunday night but was tossed by third-base umpire Vic Carapazza before throwing a pitch after an inspection of his glove and throwing hand.

Both Díaz and manager Carlos Mendoza said the umpire said he thought the pitcher had too much of a combination of rosin, sweat and dirt on his throwing hand.

"The rules are the rules and they made the decision to throw him out," Mendoza said.

Carapazza, the crew chief, said in a pool report after the game it "definitely wasn't rosin and sweat" on Díaz's hand.

"We've checked thousands of these," Carapazza said. "I know what that feeling is. This was very sticky."

Díaz said he was "really surprised" by the ejection.

"I use the same thing always," Díaz said. "I rub rosin and sweat and put my hand in the dirt a little bit to get a grip on the ball."

Smith got two outs in place of Díaz. Jake Diekman then came in and struck out pinch-hitter Patrick Wisdom for his third save for the Mets, who have won four straight series.

Díaz missed all of 2023 following knee surgery and struggled early this season. He had four blown saves and a 5.40 ERA before going on the injured list with a right shoulder impingement in May. He'd been much sharper since returning, with three scoreless outings of an inning each.

New York has won 10 of 13 and is 13-6 in June and might need to find a temporary closer for the next two weeks.

"Look, we've been through a lot this year," Mendoza said. "We'll find a way to get through it, you know? We'll continue to piece it together and, yeah, guys are going to have to step up. And I'm pretty confident that we'll get guys here that are going to be able to get us to the finish line when he's out."

Seattle's Héctor Santiago and Arizona's Caleb Smith were suspended for 10 games each in 2021. The New York Yankees' Domingo Germán and San Diego's Robert Suárez were suspended last year.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

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