Eyes were raised on Thursday when reports surfaced that Major League Baseball had collected multiple baseballs thrown by Los Angeles Dodgers ace and reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer during Wednesday's 4-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics.
While some immediately presumed Bauer could be accused of doctoring the baseballs that were allegedly sticky and/or covered in markings, ESPN's Alden Gonzalez tweeted it's more likely nothing will come of the matter:
For those wondering if Trevor Bauer will face discipline after his baseballs were collected, per The Athletic — he will not, I’m told. Not yet, at least. MLB is in information-gathering mode and collected lots of balls that first week. At most, it’s supportive evidence for later.— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) April 9, 2021
On Thursday evening, Bauer denied any wrongdoing via Twitter and referenced that MLB is gathering baseballs over the first few weeks of the season in an overall attempt to prevent pitchers from potentially altering balls to make them harder to see and hit:
balls from every other pitcher being taken out of play in literally every other game this season are? Also lol to @MLB who already has “sources” talking to gossip bloggers about a supposedly confidential process a week into the season thumbs up y’all keep killin it!— Trevor Bauer (トレバー・バウアー) (@BauerOutage) April 9, 2021
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts defended his starter on Friday:
Dave Roberts said he believes Trevor Bauer is being "singled out" after last night's report about MLB inspecting baseballs he used in Oakland on Wednesday.— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) April 9, 2021
Roberts: "My understanding is that umpires collect baseballs from all pitchers, and balls that were in play, to collect samples. I just hope that our player is not singled out. That’s the 1 thing I want to guard against."— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) April 9, 2021
Think Bauer has been singled out? "At this point, yeah."
Buster Olney of ESPN also criticized the handling of the Bauer story:
That one pitcher is drawing scrutiny over the foreign substance rules -- in this case, Trevor Bauer -- seemingly through leaks and innuendo is kind of gross. MLB should either step up and grab the steering wheel and publicly insist that umpires enforce the rule, or stand down.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) April 9, 2021