Craig Kimbrel isn’t only befuddling opponents with a pre-pitch stance these days. Some are wondering: ‘What’s that thing on his cap?’
New York Mets manager Luis Rojas on Wednesday questioned a white spot he saw on the cap the Chicago Cubs closer wore during their teams’ matchup the previous night. Rojas, whom umpires ejected from Tuesday’s game over an unrelated issue, saw the spot on Kimbrel’s cap while watching the game on television and questioned whether the former Boston Red Sox pitcher is cheating.
“I’m not in the dugout and it’s a tough thing to see from us on the first base side, but I did see it on TV, the white spot on his cap,” Rojas told WFAN’s Carton & Roberts, per WEEI. “It’s something that can be checked because I know MLB is encouraging us to check and cracking down on using illegal substances on the ball, but I thought it was a tough thing to pick up actually being on the field.”
Major League Baseball in 2021 has started cracking down on pitchers doctoring or using foreign substance on baseballs this season. Rojas didn’t indicate whether the Mets would pursue an investigation of Kimbrel’s cap Wednesday — he ultimately didn’t appear in Chicago’s 16-4 win — but they probably will watch him closely Thursday night in the series finale.
“It’s something that can always be asked, and it’s a courtesy, so if we pick it up and see he touches or something, maybe,” Rojas said. “The grip part, we know is because of the control more than anything. There’s a lot said about improving spin rate and stiff, but I know pitchers also don’t want to sail the ball and be hitting guys. I don’t know who does or doesn’t do it, but it’s something you can pay attention to if you see it live.”
MLB reportedly is investigating baseballs Los Angeles Dodgers star Trevor Bauer has used this season. The league hasn’t announced findings yet.
Will Kimbrel join Bauer on the list of pitchers under suspicion? Rojas probably best knows the answer.