Braves’ Gomes has strong words for pitchers using foreign substances
ATLANTA — No matter his reasoning, the Braves’ Jonny Gomes isn’t interested in why the Brewers’ Will Smith uses a foreign substance on his arm, which led to his ejection Thursday at Turner Field.
"At the end of the day it’s a rule. We have to follow the rules," the Atlanta outfielder said before Friday’s game. "The rule is in place because it’s performance-enhancing.
"It has nothing to do individually with the guy. I don’t dislike the guy any more. I don’t think he’s disrespecting the game; he’s trying to get an edge. We’re all trying to get an edge."
Smith, who was suspended eight games — a ban that is on hold with the left-handed reliever planning to appeal — after he was tossed for having rosin and sunscreen on his forearm in the seventh inning of Thursday’s 10-1 Braves’ win.
Smith said he uses it for grip, not to gain any movement on his pitches.
"That’s it. It’s the grip," he told reporters. "It’s not going to spin more. You’re not going to throw harder. You’ve got what you got."
Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman disclosed that he’d rather a pitcher use it to offer them more control and keep batters from being beaned.
"As a hitter, you want them to do it so they have a better grip so we won’t get hit in the head," he said Thursday.
While Gomes admits its prevalent in the game, it doesn’t mean that he wants to see it or that he’d rather pitches use it.
"No. Not at all," he said. "At the end of the day the reason there is a rule is because it’s performance-enhancing. I think if you’re in the big leagues your should know how to control all two, three, four, five of your pitches."
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said that he could see something on Smith’s arm glistening and told the umpires. Crew chief Jim Joyce went to the mound, touched Smith’s arm and ejected him.
"I’ve played with guys who use substance, played against guys, but you can’t have it on your arm," Gomes said. "Head back to the drawing board and figure a different way out if you need that to perform."
Follow Cory McCartney on Twitter @coryjmccartney