New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole’s statement against the Minnesota Twins and Josh Donaldson last week apparently didn’t resonate loudly enough, so he let his pitching do the talking again Wednesday in Toronto.
In case his actions didn’t speak louder than words, though, he saved an extended message to MLB’s decision-makers for his postgame media session.
After the hard-fought victory, which featured only four strikeouts in eight efficient innings — just enough to swing the series — Cole confirmed fans’ worst fears when he joined the masses in reiterating that his grip was a problem throughout the contest.
Add the ace’s voice to the chorus of pitchers who aren’t begging for illegal adhesives, but would like some middle ground.
After all, people might get hurt out there.
In fact, they already have.
Yankees ace Gerrit Cole had a message for MLB.
Again, now’s probably the right time to mention that Cole is a prominent leader in the MLBPA and will be very much involved in this offseason’s talks to prevent a work stoppage. So will Max Scherzer. This is going to get contentious.
Cole mentioned that he had spoken to division rival Tyler Glasnow about his comments following the elbow injury he suffered this week, and that the two shared similar concerns. That’s the literal last thing Yankees fans want to hear; Glasnow believes his extra effort without the tacky substance he’s been using led to his elbow discomfort, and Cole admitted Wednesday he felt he had to exert very similar effort.
That much was evident when, with the finish line in sight, Cole reared back and touched 101.5 with a fastball in the eighth, wrapping his effort with a 95 MPH changeup that had Lindsey Adler reflexively asking a bewildered, “How?!”
We’re not sure how Cole managed that level of heater that late in the game, either, but it’s left us just as frantic and nervous as we were excited.
Whether you believe “sticky stuff” should be an acceptable part of the game or is a pitcher’s illicit best friend, an outright removal of all substances midseason could certainly cause a ripple effect in both preparation and health.
Over the past few days alone, pitchers all across the spectrum, from Glasnow to Cole to Red Sox starter Garrett Richards (who admitted he basically had to remove his curveball from his arsenal without tack) have hinted, winked and nudged at how MLB got this wrong. Trevor Bauer, a bit less subtly, outright did a science experiment on live television.
Though Cole won’t say what he has and hasn’t used, he made perfectly clear following Wednesday’s win that, yes, his spin rate would likely continue at a diminished level in the weeks to come, assuming that was what the gathered media wanted to hear.
He proved on Wednesday he can survive that way — but did pass the baton to MLB, wondering aloud exactly how long he could manage.