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The Yankees beat the Reds, 6-2, Friday night in Cincinnati. It was actually 3-2 heading to the ninth on the strength of Aaron Judge's seventh home run in his last seven games and a two-run shot from Anthony Rizzo

The Yankees also got some nice work from starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt, and that's where we'll dive in here. Schmidt had thrown four scoreless innings before taking the hill in the fifth. While Schmidt's pitching hand was spot checked by the umpiring crew -- customary now with the crackdown of the so-called "sticky stuff" -- there seemed to be an issue. It appears there was something the umpires noticed and all four met together to discuss. They ended up allowing Schmidt to head down to the clubhouse, wash his hands and stay in the game. 

This brought back memories of Yankees starter Domingo Germán being asked to wash his hand back on April 15 against the Twins. At the time, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli was ejected. This time around, Reds manager David Bell was ejected. 

"I'm not gonna talk about it," Bell said after the game (via Bally Sports Cincinnati). "I think it was probably obvious what happened and I'm just gonna leave it at that. We don't benefit from me talking about this, so I'm not gonna talk about it, but it was obvious what happened." 

One might recall that Mets starter Max Scherzer was ejected on April 19 in Dodger Stadium, but leading up to the ejection he was also simply told by the umpiring crew to wash his hand. He said that he did but on his next spot check, he was found to have, apparently, a hand that was too sticky and was ejected. 

Earlier this week, Germán was ejected from his start in Toronto for a violation of the rule. 

The rule in question would be Rule 6.02(c), 2-7 (pages 92 and 93 here). Basically, a pitcher cannot have a foreign substance on his hands while pitching. The penalty for this is an automatic ejection. There are stipulations where it seems like the umpires might have leeway, though, because there's a comment that says if "in the judgement of the umpire, the pitcher did not intend, by his act, to alter the characteristics of a pitched ball, then the umpire may, in his discretion, warn the pitcher in lieu of applying the penalty set forth for violations of Rules 6.02(c)(2) through 6.02(c)(6). If the pitcher persists in violating either of those Rules, however, the umpire should then apply the penalty." 

Now, we know that rosin is allowed and pitchers sweat, so sometimes there's a mix of rosin and sweat and perhaps the umpires in the first case of Germán and Scherzer in the first check (not the second, when he was ejected) were trying to give the pitcher the chance to avoid the ejection. 

When it came to Schmidt on Friday, it sounds like something different altogether. 

After the game, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said that there was something with the color of Schmidt's black glove rubbing off to combine with rosin and sweat on the back of Schmidt's wrist that drew the concern of the umpires (via YES Network). Schmidt walked YES Network through it.

"When I went out there for the fifth inning, the third-base umpire checked me. He checked my hands and he said they were completely fine, but then he checked the back of my wrist where the gloves slides onto -- and I'm using a black glove and there's like black fur inside the glove -- and throughout the game there's kind of sweating, rosin and it built up on the back of my wrist where the fur sits," Schmidt said. "It raised a question, so we went over to the home plate umpire and he checked it and he checked my hands and there was nothing wrong with my hands, they weren't sticky at all. He saw the black fur that was on my wrist and so he said, 'Go clean it off' and there seemed to be no concern with the stickiness or anything with my hands." 

Take note of David Bell slapping the back of his wrist in animated fashion while getting himself ejected by the umpiring crew. 

The crew ended up backing up what Boone and Schmidt said. Via pool reports, crew chief Bryan O'Nora said, "It wasn't shiny. It wasn't dark like pine tar. It was that fuzz from the inside part of his glove, I think. ... We told him to go wash it off. He washed it off nothing was on his hand. It wasn't sticky and it wasn't a foreign substance."

There isn't anything in the rulebook that guides umpires on when or how to decide when to tell the pitcher to wash his hands or to eject him, but I suppose it's possible the umpires would say telling a pitcher to wash his hand serves as a warning. In this specific case with Schmidt, it doesn't seem like a major issue. 

Overall, though, this certainly seems like something the league should clarify with its teams.