The Montreal Expos almost came unglued after the early ejection of starter Zach Day.
Pinch-hitter Henry Mateo hit a two-run single in the 10th inning and Montreal overcame Day’s ejection for having glue on his finger as the Expos beat the Colorado Rockies, 6-4, on Saturday.
Pitchers such as Phil Niekro and Gaylord Perry were notorious for using foreign objects to doctor baseballs in the 1970s and ‘80s, but Day had a more innocent reason for having goop on his hand: to cover up a blister.
Day developed the blister on his right middle finger in the first two innings and used the glue to cover it up before heading out to pitch the third.
Under rule 8.02 (b), a pitcher is automatically ejected if he is found with any foreign substance on his fingers.
“We don’t really believe the kid thought he was cheating, but that has nothing to do with it,” home plate umpire Bill Miller said. “He had a foreign substance on his person and that means he is in violation of this rule.”
The great glue experiment didn’t last long.
After opening the third by walking Ronnie Belliard, Day tried to peel the glue off because it was bothering him. He couldn’t get it, so trainer Ron McClain came out to the mound to help him.
Miller and second base umpire Joe West noticed what they were doing and told Manager Frank Robinson that they would have to report Day to the league. Umpires then met at the mound and determined Day should be ejected.
Day stayed in the background with a dejected look on his face while Robinson and pitching coach Randy St. Claire argued his case to no avail. Day then walked slowly to the dugout after Robinson called for Claudio Vargas from the bullpen.
“It was too slick, I couldn’t feel the ball,” Day said. “I was trying to get it off. I was just trying to prevent the blister from getting worse. I wasn’t trying to do anything.”
Day has been the Expos’ best starter this season at 4-1 and had not lost since 6-1 setback at Chicago on April 8.