NEW YORK (AP) — Toronto reliever Yimi García said he didn’t hit the Yankees’ Josh Donaldson intentionally and claimed baseballs have become difficult to grip this season.
“Last night was some of the worst nights of my playing career regarding the baseballs,” García said through an interpreter before Wednesday's game. “It was embarrassing. The balls that we’re using right now, for me, it’s bad. The balls are really bad, very slippery, and I can’t believe it.”
García faulted the seams on the balls.
“They’re very low,” he said, saying the lack of height caused the slipperiness.
García's complaints came just weeks after New York Mets pitcher Chris Bassitt also found fault with the balls, saying slickness caused a high number of his teammates to be hit by pitches.
“MLB has a very big problem with the baseballs. They’re bad,” Bassitt said last month. “Everyone knows it. Every pitcher in the league knows it. They’re bad. They don’t care. MLB doesn’t give a damn about it. We’ve told them our problems with them and they don’t care.”
Major League Baseball, which cracked down on the use of sticky substances by pitchers last June, said mud has been applied to balls on game days since September to improve consistency and that uniform rosin bags were provided to teams starting this year.
MLB also made humidor use for baseball storage mandatory this season in an effort to standardize conditions, up from 10 teams last year, five in 2020 and two in 2018, when Arizona became the second team after Colorado. The humidors are used to try to get baseballs to behave in a similar fashion, whether the game’s being played in Colorado’s thin air or New York or Atlanta.
MLB points to a decline in walks and hit batters this season as evidence balls have not been harder to control.
After allowing a tying three-run homer to Giancarlo Stanton in the sixth inning Tuesday night, García hit Donaldson just above the left elbow pad with a 94 mph fastball on an 0-1 count.
“All I was trying to do was to make a good pitch inside,” García said.
García was ejected by crew chief Alfonso Marquez, causing a heated exchange as Blue Jays came out of the dugout. Marquez ejected pitching coach Pete Walker, and manager Charlie Montoyo was tossed in the seventh by plate umpire Lance Barrett, who heard something from the Blue Jays bench.
New York won 6-5 on Aaron Judge’s three-run homer in the ninth off Jordan Romano. Speaking after the game, Donaldson didn’t think García hit him intentionally.
"The situation of the game, like tie score, I’d normally I’d say no,” Donaldson said. “It wasn’t the first time it went at my head, but being in the box, obviously going back and looking at it, you don’t see too many balls thrown right at somebody like that. He was kind of put in a tough position there, the umpire. Home run tied the game up, two pitches later — in my heart of hearts, I don’t think that it was, but it didn’t look good on television, that’s for sure.”
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