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D-backs Preview #127: 8/24 @ Pirates: #FreeCaleb

A 10-game suspension for Caleb Smith, but he’s appealing

Philadelphia Phillies v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Josh Rojas - RF Michael Chavis - 2B
Pavin Smith - 1B Ke'Bryan Hayes - 3B
Asdrubal Cabrera - 3B Bryan Reynolds - CF
Carson Kelly - C Colin Moran - 1B
David Peralta - LF Jacob Stallings - C
Josh VanMeter - 2B Ben Gamel - RF
Daulton Varsho - CF Kevin Newman - SS
Nick Ahmed - SS Anthony Alford - LF
M. Bumgarner - LHP JT Brubaker - RHP

The word has come down from on high, that Diamondbacks pitcher Caleb Smith has been slapped with the standard 10-game suspension. as well as being fined, for having been found in possession of an illegal substance. The reliever was thrown out of a game last Wednesday against the Phillies, after his glove was supposedly found to contain a foreign substance. Smith has vehemently denied the accusation, saying the only thing on his glove was dirt, and Torey Lovullo backed his player. The suspension is being appealed, and until that process is completed, any punishment is on hold.

Smith is the second player to have been ejected from a game for this reason, since the crackdown on foreign substances started in June. The other was Hector Santiago of the Mariners. He also appealed against the suspension, but the punishment in that case was upheld. The particularly taxing element of this suspension would be that the team is not allowed to replace the man on their roster, so are effectively playing one short for the duration. However, roster size does increase by two to 28 on the 1st of September. If the appeal process grinds as slowly as the first phase of MLB’s investigation, by the time a decision is handed down, we could be virtually there, meaning it’ll have no real impact.

It would be very interesting to see the details of the investigation carried out by MLB. Was there an analysis done of the substance found on Smith’s glove? What, exactly, did it reveal? Or is this something where MLB are simply backing the judgment of their umpires, in the absence of evidence to the contrary? However, it is the case that MLB rules do explicitly prohibit even legal rosin from being present on a pitcher’s glove, and there’s no loophole for its accidental presence. It may be simply that Smith is a victim of circumstance rather than any deliberately malicious act. We won’t be hearing from the pitcher until after the appeal process has completed.

Sorry, no #ToreyTalks available today. Normal service should be resumed tomorrow...