(CBSNewYork)- New York Yankees starter Gerrit Cole has been one of several pitchers that have been pointed out in recent weeks for potentially having used foreign substances to get better grip on the ball and increase spin rate. There was a lawsuit filed earlier this year by an ex-Angels clubhouse attendant who alleged that Cole, along with Astros ace Justin Verlander and Nationals ace Max Scherzer, used a grip-enhancing substance.
So, when analysts noticed a drop in Cole’s spin rate in his last start against the Tampa Bay Rays last Thursday, it was immediately pointed to as a sign he had been using something but stopped in the wake of MLB stepping up enforcement of the rule. At his press conference on Tuesday, Cole addressed those questions and the comments of Twins slugger Josh Donaldson who asked if it was a “coincidence” that Cole’s spin rate went down following the league’s crackdown.READ MORE: 'A Good Step In The Right Direction': New Yorkers Optimistic As President Joe Biden Makes Juneteenth A Federal Holiday
“I attribute it to just not being as good or as sharp as I wanted to be,” Cole said and followed up by saying that Donaldson’s comments were “low-hanging fruit,” but that Donaldson is entitled to his opinion.
But, when a reporter asked Cole directly if he had ever used Spider-Tack, a substance developed by former strongman Mike Caruso to help with powerlifters with grip, the Yankees starter was a bit more coy in his response.READ MORE: 15-Year-Old Fatally Stabbed In Brooklyn, Police Questioning Person Of Interest
“I don’t know how to quite answer that, to be honest,’’ Cole said. “There’s customs and practices that have been passed down from older players to younger players and this generation of players. I think there are some things that are certainly out of bounds in that regard. And I’ve stood pretty firm in terms of that, in terms of communication between our peers and whatnot. Like I mentioned earlier, this is important to a lot of people that love this game including the players in this room, including fans, including teams.”
“If MLB wants to legislate more stuff, that’s a conversation that we can have,” Cole continued. “Because, ultimately we should all be pulling in the same direction on it.”
The league has begun to ask umpires to enforce the rules that are already on the books with regards to foreign substances until a new protocol has been finalized. The “repeated and random” checks could result in a 10-day suspension for any player caught violating the rules.MORE NEWS: With Just 5 Days Until The Democratic Mayoral Primary Election, Candidates Bring Out Stars And Celebs
Cole got the better of Donaldson in the Yankees 9-6 win over the Twins on Wednesday night, getting him to go 0-3 and striking him out twice in Cole’s six innings of work.