Gerrit Cole still has questions about exactly what MLB’s crackdown on sticky substances will look like.
He’ll be the first Yankees pitcher to get a firsthand experience of it.
While the Yankees are off Monday, when MLB begins enforcing the rule that pitchers cannot use any foreign substances, Cole will be on the mound Tuesday against the Royals at Yankee Stadium — where, at some point, he will go through mandatory checks from the umpire to ensure he does not have any sticky substances on him.
“I don’t have a lot of expectations, to be honest,” Cole said Sunday. “I think I’m in the same boat as everyone else, just waiting for this to play out. Certainly we’re not trying to be ejected. We know the ramifications [10-game suspension] on the roster and whatnot moving forward from that. It’s going to be interesting to see. We’ll be prepared to adjust here and be within the rules.”
Cole has been at the forefront of the foreign substance issue in recent weeks — from his non-answer about whether he uses Spider Tack to his plea for the Commissioner’s Office to talk to players about finding a middle ground on getting a better grip on the ball.
But he said he didn’t expect that to make him more of a target for umpire checks beginning Tuesday, which manager Aaron Boone agreed with.
“I think in a lot of ways, he’s sort of become the poster child,” Boone said, calling the recent scrutiny of Cole “unfair.”
“I think he is not one of the people that have gone to a place that a lot of people in our game have gone to, to create an advantage,” Boone added. “So that’s kind of why I feel that way.”
While Cole said there has been “some good communication” lately with MLB, he is still seeking specifics on the new protocols — including what the umpire checks will actually entail.
“That’s part of what we need more clarity on,” Cole said. “Those things should be ironed out as best they can be going into Monday so that we know what to expect. In all reality, just like any implementation of something new, there are probably going to be things we’re going to continue to need to iron out. Applying a little bit of patience is probably the right move to this and an abundance of caution until we get really solidified in how this is going to carry out going forward.”