Brewers reliever Will Smith was ejected from Thursday's game against the Atlanta Braves after umpires found a foreign substance on his arm.
With one out and Jace Peterson at an 0-1 count, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez asked umpire crew chief Jim Joyce to take a look at Smith's arm, where he claimed to have seen something that wasn't exactly sweat. Joyce went up, touched Smith's arm, and quickly and calmly ejected him.
It's not like it was particularly well-hidden, either:
Brewers television announcers Brian Anderson and Bill Schroeder discussed after the ejection how foreign substances are, of course, illegal, but that many pitchers will use them anyway. However, the rule book is clear, Rule 8.02(b) says a pitcher shall not "have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance. For such infraction of this section the penalty shall be immediate ejection from the game. In addition, the pitcher shall be suspended automatically."
Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was caught with pine tar on his neck back in April of last year and was handed a 10-game suspension for the infraction. Because Smith is a reliever, I would assume his suspension will be less -- 10 games equates to two starts missed for Pineda, only. EDIT: Andrew Gruman says it's an automatic 10-game suspension, so I'm wrong that it might be less.
It's generally accepted that many pitchers will use pine tar or sun screen lotion or another substance to gain an upper-edge, and most pitchers are only found out if they make it blatantly obvious. From an article on MLB.com about Pineda's suspension:
Mike Napoli and A.J. Pierzynski were among the Red Sox players who said that their issue was not with the actual pine tar use, but with Pineda's lack of tact in hiding it.
"I don't have a problem with guys that do it," Pierzynski said. "I know as a hitter, I want to get in there and know the guy has a grip, especially [Wednesday] when it was cold and windy.
"Put it on your hat, put it on your pants, your belt, put it on your glove -- whatever you have to do. You just can't do it that blatantly. That was what the biggest issue was. No one has an issue with him doing it; it's just more of the fact that it's so blatant."
Smith was visibly upset after being ejected, haphazardly tossing the ball to Joyce without looking at him and swearing all the way to the clubhouse.
The foreign substance rule has been called into question in recent years due in large part to the fact that most people are pretty accepting of the fact that it is being used. However, the rules are still the rules and Smith's ejection was pretty clearly warranted.
The Brewers brought Neal Cotts into a 2-1 game to replace Smith. By the end of the 7th, the Brewers were losing 8-1.