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Saturday, May 17
Day gets booted in third for glue on finger

Associated Press

DENVER -- Montreal Expos pitcher Zach Day was ejected in the third inning against the Colorado Rockies on Saturday after the umpiring crew determined he had an illegal substance on his fingers.

Day was tossed after the umpires learned he put glue on his right middle finger to cover up a blister.

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.''

Day had trouble with the blister in the first two innings, so he tried to cover it with glue before heading out for the third. He walked Ronnie Belliard to open the inning, then tried to peel the glue off because it was bothering him.

Trainer Ron McClain came out to help him scrape it off, leading Miller to walk out to the mound. Miller and second base umpire Joe West told manager Frank Robinson that they would have report Day to the league, then decided to eject him after meeting with the other two umpires.

Day stayed in the background with a dejected look on his face as Robinson and pitching coach Randy St. Claire pleaded his case, then walked slowly to the dugout after Robinson signaled for Claudio Vargas in 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.''

Robinson tried to argue that the glue should fall under the rule that prohibits defacing the ball, which would result in a warning instead of an ejection, but the umpires weren't buying it.

"We didn't have a choice,'' Miller said. "They forced our hand. As soon as we heard that it was Super Glue and not just a blister, then we had to throw him out.''

Day, a groundball specialist, was 4-0 with a 2.43 ERA in 17 relief appearances as a rookie last season, but moved into the Montreal's starting rotation this year with a solid spring.

Day has been the best pitcher on a Montreal staff hit hard by injuries with a 4-1 record and a 2.73 ERA. Opponents have hit just .235 against him and he has the best road ERA in the majors at 1.37.

The 24-year-old right-hander also has the best ratio of getting groundballs with four for every flyout.

Day earned the fifth spot in the rotation coming out of spring training, but was bumped up to fourth after Orlando Hernandez went down with a shoulder injury. The Expos also are without Tony Armas Jr., who is scheduled to have shoulder surgery on Friday.

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