Yankees pitcher Cole says spin speed drops due to mechanics, not MLB crackdown


MINNEAPOLIS >> The shots Gerrit Cole threw in his last start didn’t turn as much, and the New York Yankees ace said the drop in the turnover rate was due to mechanical flaws – avoiding a recent accusation according to which he allegedly reduced sticky substances in the midst of a Major League Baseball Suppression.

“I just attribute it to not being as good or as sharp as I wanted. It’s that simple, ”Cole said today before the Yankees started a three-game series at Minnesota.

Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson, as part of numerous comments last week about the presence of sticky pitching-friendly stuff, casually wondered if Cole was suddenly trying to hide the use of grip aids to avoid getting caught.

According to MLB Statcast data on the Baseball Savant site, Cole recorded a 125 rotations per minute decrease in his four-seam fastball last week when he allowed five runs in five innings in a loss to Tampa Bay. . Cole, not quite halfway through the second season of a nine-year, $ 324 million contract, is third in the MLB with 104 strikeouts. The triple All-Star has a 2.26 ERA over 75 2/3 innings and 12 starts this season.

“I don’t quite bring out my best performance. Of course, this is something we are watching. Of course, we also monitor other variables when evaluating our performance in each match. You try to take in as much information as you can as a player, and that’s definitely one of them, ”Cole said. “We’re trying to improve this week and work, and I’ll be as prepared as possible for my next start.”

Cole is due to pitch Wednesday against Donaldson and the Twins.

At least four minor league pitchers have been suspended this season by Major League Baseball after being caught using banned foreign substances to cure baseballs, evidence of a stronger crackdown on the power system of the game than in the big leagues during this historically dominant pitching period. The use of homemade sticky substances – usually based on sunscreen and rosin – is believed to have increased in recent seasons to increase the spin rates of fastballs and make those courts harder to hit.

Despite these suspicions, no big league pitcher has been suspended or fined for using illegal substances this season.

Donaldson suggested the timing of the news of the minor league suspensions was related to changes in Cole’s turnover rate. Cole called the review “unwanted” but declined to respond specifically to the allegation.

“I understand that this topic is important for anyone who cares about the game. As far as Josh is concerned, I felt like it was a bit of a handy fruit, but he has a right to have his opinion and voice his opinion, so I just have other things I need to stay focused on, ”Cole mentioned.

Cole today dodged the question of whether he had ever used a particularly sticky substance known as Spider Tack, which was designed for use by Strongman’s competitors.

He started to respond, paused for six seconds, then continued.

“I’m not sure how to respond to that, to be honest,” he said. “There are customs and practices that have been passed down from older players to younger players, from the latest generation of players to this generation of players, and I think there are some things that are certainly prohibited in this respect.”

Donaldson said on Friday that the sticky substance situation was going to be “baseball’s next steroid test” for its performance-enhancing effect on the game.

“The hitters never really cared about sunscreen, rosin and pine tar. We didn’t care about this because it’s not a performance boost. What these guys are doing now is improving performance, where it’s a real superglue-type event, where it’s not about command anymore, ”said Donaldson. “Now it’s a question of who throws the baddest throws, the most untouchable throws. “

Cole, a member of the players’ association’s executive subcommittee, said he welcomed the dialogue on the use and legality of grip aids.

“It’s important to a lot of people who love the game, including the players in this room, including the fans, including the teams, so if MLB wants to legislate on other things, it’s a conversation that we can have, ”he said. “Because at the end of the day, we should all be pulling in the same direction on this.”

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said: “At the end of the day, all that everyone really wants – pitchers, positional players, managers – is the best possible product and the highest level of play we have. may create. “


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