Commissioner Rob Manfred once again emphatically denied that Major League Baseball has altered baseballs to generate more offense, amid widespread criticism from some of the sport's top pitchers.
"Baseball has done nothing, given no direction for an alteration in the baseball," Manfred told reporters Tuesday. "The flaw in logic is that baseball wants more home runs. If you sat in owners meetings and listen to people on how the game is played, that is not a sentiment among the owners for whom I work."
Manfred also said "there is no evidence from scientists that the ball is harder" but acknowledged that "the drag of the baseball is less."
He said MLB is trying to find out why the drag is less but had not been given answers by scientists.
"Pitchers have raised issues particularly about the tackiness and seams on the baseball, and we do believe those could be issues," Manfred said.
Manfred's comments came one day after Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander, the American League's starting pitcher in Tuesday's All-Star Game, told ESPN's Jeff Passan that the baseballs being used this season are "a f---ing joke" and that he believes "100 percent" that MLB has implemented juiced balls to increase offense.
Verlander's sentiment was echoed by Mets ace Jacob deGrom, who said Monday that he was "not going to disagree with him," and Nationals ace Max Scherzer, who agreed that the baseball "seems to travel differently."
"All the rules that are changed in the game, that has to be cleared with the players," Scherzer told reporters. "But when the ball changes as much as it has over the last handful of years, the players have no say in that whatsoever.
"We as players wonder why the ball can change that much, that fast, and to have that big of results. That's why as players we deserve an answer to what's going on."