May 25, 2024

Astros starter Ronel Blanco ejected following foreign substance check vs. A’s

HOUSTON — Astros pitcher Ronel Blanco was ejected from his start Tuesday following a foreign substance check before the fourth inning.

Blanco threw 54 pitches across three scoreless innings against the Oakland A’s. Umpires never raised issues with him during any substance checks before the fourth inning.

All four umpires examined Blanco’s glove before he reached the mound to begin his warmup tosses. Crew chief Laz Diaz ejected Blanco after a brief conference with the three other umpires.

Blanco offered his bare hands for all umpires to check, but otherwise did not appear to protest his case. First-base umpire Erich Bacchus brought Blanco’s glove down into the umpire’s clubhouse.

The glove will now be subject to examination by Major League Baseball, which introduced more strict foreign substance rules during the 2021 season. If Blanco is found to have violated the rules, he faces a 10-game suspension, during which Houston cannot replace him on the active roster.

Blanco brought a 2.23 ERA into Tuesday’s start and had blossomed into one of baseball’s most surprising stories.

The 30-year-old right-hander tossed a no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays during his first start of the season and helped to stabilize an Astros rotation ravaged by injuries.

Losing Blanco for 10 games would cripple an already wounded Houston pitching staff. Houston has the American League’s highest ERA and is amid a stretch of 16 consecutive games without an off day.

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(Photo: Logan Riely / Getty Images)