Smith was ejected in the seventh inning Thursday night by umpire Jim Joyce because Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez noticed the gleaming substance on Smith’s arm. Upon further investigation, it looked like Smith had placed a smear of pine tar on his arm to gain traction on the balls.
Before this incident, Smith had been putting up excellent numbers for the Brewers, posting an ERA of 2.84 while striking out 18 batters in just 12.2 innings.
Perhaps we now know why.
After the game, Smith admitted to having mixed resin with sunscreen, per John Donovan of MLB.com.
“It helps you be able to throw the ball. That’s it. It’s not going to spin more. You’re not going to throw harder. You’ve got what you got.”
Brewers manager Craig Counsell also weighed in on the debacle, making it clear Smith is not the only one who does this on a regular basis:
“Pitchers are trying to get grips on the ball. We’ve had hitters on other teams asking for pitchers to get a grip on the ball. We’ve had [our] hitters hit in the head asking for [opposing] pitchers to get grips on the ball,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said in a surly clubhouse after the Braves’ 10-1 win. “It’s very common.
“It goes on on the other side, I guarantee you.”
Not surprisingly, Smith has appealed the ban, and therefore discipline will not be doled out until the appeal has been decided, per MLB Communications.