Smith regrets oversight with rosin, sunscreen on arm
ATLANTA (AP) — Milwaukee Brewers reliever Will Smith wanted to grip the ball better, so he followed a common practice of using rosin and sunscreen on his pitching hand.
Only problem is it’s against the rules.
“It was chilly and kind of windy,” Smith said. “I had rosin and sunscreen on my arm. I just forgot to wipe it off before I went out and pitched. I had to kind of get ready in a hurry. I just forgot. That’s it.”
Smith was ejected after replacing Matt Garza in the seventh inning of a one-run game and the Brewers soon fell apart in a 10-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night.
Play was stopped briefly with Atlanta leading 2-1 and the bases loaded with one out in the seventh when Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez successfully argued to umpires that Smith had a foreign substance on his right forearm.
Crew chief Jim Joyce walked over to the mound, touched a shiny substance on Smith’s arm and ejected the pitcher. Gonzalez said Smith was breaking the rules after the left-hander threw a pitch that bounced in front of the plate and hit pinch-hitter Pedro Ciriaco in the leg.
After one pitch to the next batter, Jace Peterson, Gonzalez called timeout and walked onto the field.
“I never went out there until he went to it (his arm),” Gonzalez said. “You can look at the video. That’s when I went out to the home plate umpire to check.”
Smith added that the only purpose of using rosin and sunscreen is to help him feel the ball better.
“That’s it. It’s the grip,” he said. “It’s not going to spin more. You’re not going to throw harder. You’ve got what you got.”
The Braves have won five of six. Milwaukee, which had a season-low with two hits, has dropped four of six.
Teheran (4-1) allowed two hits, one run, one walk and struck out eight in seven innings.
Christian Bethancourt’s RBI single chased Garza (2-6) with one out in the seventh. After Smith hit Ciriaco, the next two pitchers — Neal Cotts and Michael Blazek — combined to allow RBI singles to Peterson and Freddie Freeman, Cameron Maybin’s two-run single and Nick Markakis’ RBI double.
Freeman scored the last run of the inning when Jonny Gomes, batting for the second time in the seventh, reached on a throwing error by second baseman Hector Gomez.
Freeman added that he didn’t blame Smith for using the substance.
“Every pitcher does it,” Freeman said. “As a hitter, you want them to do it so they’ll have a better grip so we won’t get hit in the head.”
Garza allowed five hits, four runs, two walks and struck out three in 6 1-3 innings, dropping to 0-4 with a 4.93 ERA in six career starts against Atlanta.
Teheran had allowed 32 hits in his last four starts, a span of 22 1-3 innings. He let the Brewers force a 1-all tie in the fourth when Carlos Gomez walked, advanced to third on Gerardo Parra’s single and scored on Ryan Braun’s sacrifice fly.
Atlanta went up 1-0 in the first on Markakis’ RBI single.
The Braves made it 10-1 in the eighth when Bethancourt scored on Brandon Kintzler’s wild pitch and Freeman had an RBI single.
Brewers: Manager Craig Counsell said SS Jean Segura, out since May 13 with a broken finger on his right hand, could be getting closer to his return. “When we get back home (to begin a four-game series against the Giants on Monday), that’s probably going to be the big day,” Counsell said. “Everything right now looks good and it’s going to be how does it feel when he starts swinging the bat.”
Braves: 3B Chris Johnson, sidelined since April 30 with a broken left hand, could return next Thursday at San Francisco. Gonzalez said Johnson will have five at-bats in extended spring training Friday, take batting practice on Saturday, rejoin the Braves for batting practice on Sunday and then have a rehab assignment in three games next week.
Brewers: RHP Wily Peralta (1-5) is 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA in three career starts against Atlanta, but gave up five runs and nine hits in five innings of a 5-1 loss to the New York Mets on Sunday.
Braves: LHP Alex Wood (2-2) is 2-0 with a 0.87 ERA in four starts and one relief appearance against Milwaukee. Wood gave up seven hits and one run in a 5-3 win at Miami on Saturday.