NEW YORK -- Manager Rocco Baldelli was ejected during the Minnesota Twins' 6-1 loss to the New York Yankees on Saturday after an excess rosin controversy concerning starting pitcher Domingo Germán.
First-base umpire and crew chief James Hoye had a lengthy conversation with Germán during an extensive hand and glove checkup in the middle of the third inning. Hoye explained after the game that Germán appeared to have excess rosin on his hands, and he asked him to clean them after the top of the third.
Germán came back out in the top of the fourth inning and Hoye still noticed tackiness.
"I checked them again, and I go, 'I just told you to clean this up,' and there was still some tackiness on his pinkie," Hoye explained. "Then the [Yankees] interpreter came out, and [New York manager Aaron] Boone came out, and said, the interpreter goes, 'He washed his hands. He cleaned it up.' And I go, 'Yeah, but it's still tacky.'"
Hoye said that at that point, according to procedure, he had another crew member, second-base umpire D.J. Reyburn, check on whether Germán was using a sticky foreign substance that could potentially affect the ball flight or if the tackiness was derived from using a rosin bag.
"We all agreed that it's no," Hoye said of Germán using a foreign substance. "In that situation, it was more of a directive by me that he didn't clean it all the way up. It wasn't a foreign substance that affected the flight of the ball. And then I went over to Rocco. And he felt like this was a stand he needed to make and so he was ejected from the game."
Hoye added: "In that situation there, it was like, this is not an ejectable offense because we didn't feel it rose to the foreign substance standard of affecting the flight, affecting his pitching. That's why we didn't eject."
Nonetheless, Baldelli said he "strongly disagreed" with Hoye's crew not ejecting Germán, with his main objection being that the Yankees starter did not comply with the umpire instructions and was allowed to stay in the game, notching a career-high 11 strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings pitched.
"The pitcher was warned or asked to clean off the rosin that was on his hand," Baldelli said. "Sometimes, when you use rosin, it will get especially tacky. He was warned, he didn't fully comply with the warning, from what I was told. And was still allowed to keep pitching. That's it. I just don't agree with that in principle. ... I didn't like that he was able to just kind of walk past everyone after being confronted for the second time in the game, and [the umpires] allowed him to just keep pitching."
In terms of Baldelli's point of view, Hoye specified that the Twins' skipper was incorrect because Germán was not found to have been using an illegal substance, and that he "blended the foreign substance argument with the argument of me telling him to clean it and he didn't."
Germán described the on-field discussion with Hoye as "intense" and admitted that he was worried about an ejection. Germán also said he was glad that the umpires were able to "reason" with him as he explained that he does not use the rosin bag on the mound, but as he departs the dugout in between innings.
"There was a moment there I felt that things were going to get out of hand. But I was able to explain it and tell them I have a rosin bag that's in the area of the dugout where I sit all the time," Germán said. "And [Hoye] was able to listen to what I was saying and discussed it with the rest of the umpires, and they said, 'OK, fine. Go back out there and pitch.'"
Boone said the umpires explained that Germán had too much rosin on his hands, in a way that it was "enough to raise a flag," which is why he was asked to wash them.
"[Germán] washed his hands off but before he goes out [for the fourth inning] he hits the rosin. He doesn't go to the rosin a lot on the mound, which was something that got their attention," Boone said. "They didn't see anything. There was tackiness from rosin, but he doesn't hit the rosin out there, but he hits the rosin [in the dugout] before he comes out. So, it was just the level that caught [the umpire's] attention."