Mets reliever Drew Smith fined, suspended 10 games after being tossed for sticky substance vs. Yankees

MLB announced Wednesday that it has fined and suspended New York Mets reliever Drew Smith for 10 games after he was ejected for a sticky-substance violation Tuesday against the New York Yankees.

Per MLB, Smith violated “the prohibitions on foreign substances, which resulted in his ejection." MLB did not disclose the amount of his fine or identify the nature of the "foreign" substance.

Smith isn't appealing the suspension, which begins Wednesday with the second of a two-game series against the Yankees.

Smith was ejected in the seventh inning of Tuesday's game, before he even threw a pitch. Umpires checked his hand for a sticky substance after he walked out of the bullpen at Citi Field to take over for fellow reliever Josh Walker.

Crew chief Bill Miller initiated the exam. The game's other three umpires also examined Smith's hands before Miller signaled the ejection. Smith protested the decision while pleading his case with Miller. Miller then spoke with Buck Showalter before the Mets manager escorted Smith off the field and into the Mets dugout.

The Yankees led 7-6 at the time. Smith was slated as the Mets' third relief pitcher of the night after starter Max Scherzer gave up six earned runs in 3 1/3 innings. Instead, John Curtiss pitched the seventh and eighth innings without allowing a run.

The Mets didn't score again, and the Yankees went on to a 7-6 victory. Use of a foreign substance calls for an automatic 10-game suspension. After the game, Smith said he had only sweat and rosin on his hands.

“They said both of my hands were too sticky," Smith said. “Really surprised because I haven’t done anything different all year. Sweat, rosin, like I don’t know what else to say. Nothing changed."

He also called for more consistency in enforcing sticky-substance rules.

"I think the process is so arbitrary," Smith said. "It can change from one crew to the other, and I think that’s the main issue. I don’t think they were sticky. I mean, obviously, they did."

Drew Smith pleaded his case as Bill Miller ejected him. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Drew Smith pleaded his case as Bill Miller ejected him. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Max Scherzer criticizes ejection

Smith is the second Mets pitcher this season to be ejected for a sticky substance. The other was Scherzer, who was ejected and suspended for 10 games after failing a sticky-substance exam in an April game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Yankees starter Domingo Germán is the only other MLB player who has been suspended this season for a violation.

Smith referenced Scherzer's ban when discussing his ejection.

"I’m sure they’re gonna come out with a statement saying something similar to Max’s, like, 'stickiest hands ever' or whatnot," Smith said. "But my hands weren’t sticky. I had everybody checking as I was coming off the field. I don’t know if that was caught on camera.”

Scherzer said after the game that he was among those who checked Smith's hands and didn't feel anything. He pleaded Smith's case and argued that it's unfair to eject a pitcher before he throws a pitch.

"I mean, he hasn’t even thrown a pitch," Scherzer said. "How do you know he’s gonna increase his spin rate? You don’t know that. It’s an ejection on what the umpire thinks, so until he’s actually guilty of actually increasing his spin rate or doing something at all, how can we sit here and say that?”

Scherzer also called the state of sticky-substance enforcement a "dangerous issue." He hit Giancarlo Stanton in the elbow with a pitch in the third inning and said postgame that if pitchers can't get a grip on the ball because of enforcement, there's an increased risk of losing control and pitches hitting batters in the head.

Zach Crizer contributed to this report.