No one caught him with an emery board in his pocket, but it was hard to imagine that Milwaukee Brewers reliever Will Smith's shiny new arm would escape Major League Baseball scrutiny for very long.
Smith was suspended eight games by baseball on Friday after he was ejected Thursday for having a mixture of rosin and sunscreen on his non-throwing arm during a 10-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
Joe Garagiola Jr., MLB's senior vice president of standards and on-field operations, announced the suspension. Smith said he planned to appeal.
Smith characterized the incident as an honest mistake. He said he merely forgot to wipe the substances off his arm and hand after using them to grip the ball better while warming up in the bullpen.
“It was chilly and kind of windy,” Smith said. “I had rosin and sunscreen on my arm. I just forgot to wipe it off before I went out and pitched. I had to kind of get ready in a hurry. I just forgot. That's it."
With the Brewers trailing, 2-1, in the seventh inning, Smith relieved starter Matt Garza. Smith hit Braves pinch hitter Pedro Ciriaco to load the bases and threw one pitch to Jace Peterson before Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez asked umpires to look at Smith's arm. Umpire crew chief Jim Joyce touched the shiny substance on Smith's forearm and immediately ejected him.
Smith was visibly upset and appeared to direct some words toward the Braves' dugout upon his ejection. He understood his ejection would probably lead to a suspension.
“That’s MLB’s decision, not my call," he said. “I was upset. I’m a competitor. Obviously you want to stay in the game and pitch. It’s a big situation. I want to be in there. I was [angry] that I got thrown out, obviously."
Gonzalez said he only asked umpires to take action when he noticed Smith touched his arm with the ball.
“I never went out there until he went to it [his arm],” Gonzalez said. “You can look at the video. That's when I went out to the home plate umpire to check.”
Although it's against the rules, Smith indicated the rosin and sunscreen didn't help him gain an advantage.
"It's the grip,” he said. "It's not going to spin more. You're not going to throw harder. You've got what you got."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.