Did Alex Sanabia slobber all over the baseball last night after giving up a home run to the Phillies' Domonic Brown? Based on the video from the Phillies broadcast (click here to watch it), it sure looks like it.
The video appears to show Sanabia spitting on the ball (about the 15 second mark on the video), then rubbing it with his hands after Brown's second-inning homer. Umpires obviously didn't notice it. Otherwise, they likely would have asked for the ball and warned the pitcher -- at the minimum.
(Here's the applicable rule: 8.02 (a) (2) The pitcher shall not expectorate on the ball, either hand or glove.)
According to MLB, the rule "gives the umpire the discretion to either eject the pitcher immediately if he thinks he is attempting to alter the characteristics of a pitched ball or warn the pitcher against doing this if he does not see any intent to do anything sinister with the baseball."
According to a source I spoke with, crew chief and first base umpire Joe West was apparently alert to Sanabia and eyeballing him with extra scrutiny throughout Monday's game.
"He was staring holes through him," the source said of West.
The source said that, at one point in the sixth inning, West became suspicious and ordered Sanabia to throw out a ball he was holding. Sanabia obliged and tossed it into the Marlins dugout before being given a replacement.
While Sanabia ended a five-game losing streak with the victory, it wasn't like his pitches were dancing and weaving all over the place, fooling the Phillies hitters. He struck out only two batters of the remaining 15 he retired.
Since Sanabia's alleged spitting episode went undetected by the media, he wasn't asked about it after the game. You can bet he'll be asked to talk about it when the clubhouse opens this afternoon.