Video: Jose Valverde's possible 'spit ball'
Did Tigers closer Jose Valverde throw a spit ball Sunday night against the Reds? This video has been making the Internet (blogs/Twitter) rounds Monday:
I don't think there's much disputing that Valverde spit into his glove, which contained the baseball. But did he doctor the ball? It's hard to tell. As Kevin Kaduk of Big League Stew points out, doctored baseballs tend to move down, but Valverde's next pitch was a high four-seam fastball.
Here is the MLB rule in question, with only the currently relevant portions, via MLB.com:
The pitcher shall not --Expectorate means to hawk a loogie, in layman's terms.
(a) (2) expectorate on the ball, either hand or his glove;
(6) deliver a ball altered in a manner prescribed by Rule 8.02(a)(2) through (5) or what is called the "shine" ball, "spit" ball, "mud" ball or "emery" ball. The pitcher is allowed to rub the ball between his bare hands.
PENALTY: For violation of any part of Rules 8.02(a)(2) through (6)
(a) the pitcher shall be ejected immediately from the game and shall be suspended automatically. In National Association Leagues, the automatic suspension shall be for 10 games.
Personally, I'm willing to pass this off as a coincidence. Remember, that YouTube above is in slow motion and consider Valverde threw a four-seamer instead of a split-finger fastball (which spit would benefit).
So what do you guys think? Let us know ...
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