SAN DIEGO — Padres setup man Robert Suarez was ejected from San Diego’s 4-0 win over Miami after he was checked for foreign matter prior to entering the eighth inning Wednesday afternoon at Petco Park.
Suarez – who later confirmed he was only using the normal amount of sunscreen he would use during matches all day – had a routine check behind the mound just before throwing warm-up pitches. The umpires checked his throwing hand and his gloved hand before crew chief Todd Technor sent off the right-hander.
“We were doing a routine spot check for foreign matter,” Tichenor said in a pooled report. “It was noticed that there was gunk on the side of his glove. All four of us got together, we thought it was very sticky, very sticky, and he was kicked out of the game.
Suarez said he was surprised by the ejection and that he did not use any foreign materials that could be used to help increase spin on courts.
“Like any match day, I put on sunscreen, and that’s what they saw,” Suarez said through a translator. “This is what led to their decision to kick me out of the game. … I am definitely not using any illegal substance, any banned substance at all.
“I will explore my options, see what options I have, and then I will start from there,” Suarez said.
Sunscreen, of course, is not a prohibited substance. Nor is rosin, of which sachets are routinely provided for pitchers. But when combined freely, they can produce a viscous substance that reaches the threshold of ejaculation.
Technor said the violation was due to a substance found in “Suarez’s general wrist area” and his staff forced Suarez to raise his sleeve to further examine his left arm. Tichenor said he could not identify the exact substance that was used.
“I wish I could,” said Technor. “I know it might have been more than just a rose. I was trained for it. But I couldn’t tell you what it was.”
Suarez disputed the notion that this was anything illegal.
“It was just sunblock,” he said. “Like I said, that’s what I use in everyday games, and that’s what they saw. But outside of anything other than sunscreen, it wasn’t anything else.
In 13 games this season, Suarez has posted a 4.73 ERA after missing the first half with an elbow injury. He was one of the Padres’ most valuable relief weapons last season and signed a five-year contract extension to stay with the club during the offseason.
“We’ve got guys in there to beat it,” Padres head coach Bob Melvin said when asked about the effects of a 10-game suspension, should that happen. “Obviously he’s a big piece for us. But like with injury, sometimes you have to go forward, other players have to go forward.”
One such option is Tom Cosgrove, who replaced Suarez and has been given time to warm up. He pitched the eighth inning 1-2-3.
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