A few days before Major League Baseball began cracking down on the use of sticky substances, Tampa Bay Rays starter Tyler Glasnow was placed on the 10-day injured list with a partial UCL tear and a flexor strain. He did not shy away from how he believed he ended up hurt.
“I woke up the next day and it was like, I am sore in places that I didn’t even know I had muscles in,” Glasnow said to reporters. “I felt completely different. I switched my fastball grip and my curveball grip. I’ve thrown it the same way for however many years I’ve played baseball.”
Glasnow was adamant that the sudden change he made to his grip played a direct role in his injury.
“I just threw 80-something innings, and then you just told me I can’t use anything in the middle of the year?” he said. “I have to change everything I’ve been doing the entire season. Everything out of the window, I had to start doing something completely new.
“I’m telling you, I truly believe that’s why I got hurt.”
It has been one month since MLB announced revamped enforcement of the existing ban on sticky substances. In that time, spin rates are down — over half the league has seen a statistically significant decline. Strikeout rates are down, by a little. The seemingly weekly no-hitters have abated. Pitchers have stopped disrobing as they leave the mound, but are still subject to routine hat, glove and belt checks from umpiring crews. So far, only one pitcher, Seattle’s Héctor Santiago, has been ejected and suspended for a potential sticky substance violation.
But there is no doubt that an additional question lingers in the back of a pitcher’s mind: Are they at greater risk of injury due to these sudden changes?