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MLB suspends Mariners pitcher Hector Santiago for foreign substance

Baseball announced the penalty two days after Santiago was ejected from a game against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Umpire Phil Cuzzi talks with Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Hector Santiago Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field. Cuzzi ejected Santiago.
Umpire Phil Cuzzi talks with Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Hector Santiago Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field. Cuzzi ejected Santiago.
Nam Y. Huh/AP

NEW YORK — Seattle Mariners pitcher Héctor Santiago became the first player disciplined under Major League Baseball’s crackdown on grip-enhancing foreign substances, given a 10-game suspension Tuesday.

Michael Hill, the former Marlins general manager who is senior vice president for on-field operations, announced the penalty two days after Santiago was ejected from a game against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Santiago also was fined an undisclosed amount.

He appealed the decision to MLB special adviser John McHale Jr., and the suspension will be delayed until the appeal is decided.

Santiago, a 33-year-old left-hander, is in his 10th major league season, his first with the Mariners.

Under a crackdown that started June 21, all pitchers are being checked by umpires during games and Santiago was examined as he exited in the fifth inning.

Crew chief Tom Hallion said then that Santiago was ejected for “having a foreign substance that was sticky on the inside palm of his glove.” The pitcher said what the umpires found was a combination of rosin and sweat.

Santiago started this season at Triple-A and made his big league season debut with the Mariners on June 1. He is 1-1 with a 2.65 ERA in nine games.

Seattle will not be allowed to fill Santiago’s spot on its 26-man roster roster during a suspension and will play a man short while a penalty is served.

Baseball officials, concerned about offense that dropped to its lowest level in 50 years, first mentioned the crackdown on June 3, and Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the start date on June 15.

“It has become clear that the use of foreign substance has generally morphed from trying to get a better grip on the ball into something else — an unfair competitive advantage that is creating a lack of action and an uneven playing field,” he said.

The average spin rate of pitches has declined since June 3.