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Major League Baseball, it seems, has started enforcing the foreign substance rule incredibly seriously.
So much so, in fact, that wedding rings are now off limits, too.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Graham Ashcraft was confronted by an umpire in the first inning of their 7-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday. The first base umpire asked him to remove the black silicone wedding ring he was wearing under his glove.
“He goes, ‘You have to take your ring off,’” Ashcraft said after the game, via USA Today. “I was like, ‘No, why do I have to take my ring off? I shouldn’t have to.’ Apparently, it’s some new rule they came up with yesterday.”
Graham Ashcraft was asked by the ump to take his wedding band…off his glove hand… pic.twitter.com/vSPUpURRq5
— ATBBTTR (@ATBBTTR) June 18, 2022
Technically, it’s not a new rule. It's just that nobody cared until now.
Pitchers are not allowed to “attach anything to either hand, any finger or either wrist,” according to rule 6.02(c)(7). While it’s up to the umpire’s discretion whether something is considered a foreign substance, they can’t pitch “with such attachment to his hand, finger or wrist.”
So, even though it was on his glove hand, Ashcraft had to take his ring off. He moved it to the chain around his neck for the rest of the game.
Ashcraft talked to the home plate umpire before the second inning, too, and said he learned that this part of the rule was something the league just started enforcing on Friday.
“I actually did get a memo about it,” Reds manager David Bell said, via USA Today. “I knew I had. I hadn't read it super close, so as soon as Graham came off the field, we went and double-checked and there is a rule. They just reminded us recently. I don't know if it was a new one or a reminder.”
Ashcraft pitched five innings in Saturday’s loss, which marked the third straight for Cincinnati. The 24-year-old holds a 3-1 record so far this season with a 3.51 ERA and 19 strikeouts.