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Marlins pitcher Alex Sanabia claims he didn’t know spitballs were illegal

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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(MLB.TV)

Earlier in the week our own Dave Brown took a very close look at Alex Sanabia's apparent spitball against the Philadelphia Phillies. We're talking frame-by-frame, undeniable visual evidence that Sanabia did indeed hock a Rob Dribble right there in plain view of pretty much everybody.

In fact, the Miami Marlins right-hander was so indiscreet — yet somewhat slick, as well — with his actions that it almost seemed like he didn't realize he was doing anything wrong.

Well, guess what? It turns out Sanabia really didn't realize he was doing anything wrong. Or at least that's what he claimed in an Associated Press article on Friday.

Sanabia said Friday he spit on a baseball earlier in the week to get a better grip, not to get more movement on his pitches. He also repeated he didn't know it was illegal.

"I didn't know. I was in my zone and just grooving. It's something you live and learn from. I didn't mean anything bad by it or I didn't mean to do anything more," Sanabia said. "It's something that showed up that way and people all of a sudden just create their own perception of."

I don't think it was necessary to create our own perception. We all know what we saw and what it meant.

Sanabia later added:

"I don't know what they expect from spitting on it," Sanabia said. "My intention wasn't to be like `Let's get more movement.' My intention was I need more grip."

Sanabia was asked if he had done this before and said he hadn't, instead licking his fingers. The reason he chose to spit directly on the ball was because it was "super slick."

At this moment we're not aware of any punishment for Sanabia from Major League Baseball, so it appears they bought his explanation or just didn't bother looking into it too deeply.

Hard to say, but based on Sanabia's own admission and the fact he's drawn so much attention over the incident, odds are he won't be taking that chance again regardless of his intentions So as manager Mike Redmond said, this appears to be case closed. Let's move on to the next controversy.

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