Domingo German's hand was coated with something tackier than rosin, umpire James Hoye said after ejecting the New York Yankees pitcher for violating Major League Baseball's rules on sticky substances.
"The instant I looked at his hand, it was extremely shiny and extremely sticky," the crew chief told a pool reporter after the Yankees defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 6-3 on Tuesday night. "It's the stickiest hand I've ever felt. My fingers had a hard time coming off his palm."
German denied Hoye's accusation, saying he didn't have anything on his hand other than rosin.
"It was definitely just the rosin bag," German said through an interpreter. "It was sweat and the rosin bag. I don't need any extra help to grab the baseball."
German's ejection, likely to trigger a 10-game suspension, was the fourth since Major League Baseball started its crackdown on prohibited grip aids two years ago and the second this season. It occurred during the second game of an increasingly acrimonious series between AL East rivals.
"Not ideal, but nothing has been ideal about the start of this season," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
German retired his first nine batters before his hands were examined by first base umpire D.J. Reyburn as the pitcher headed to the mound for the bottom of the fourth. Other umpires came over along with Boone, and German was ejected by Hoye, who was working the plate.
If suspended, German cannot be replaced on the roster and the Yankees would be forced to play with 25 men instead of 26.
"Something also that I want the opportunity to say, is that I want to apologize to my teammates," German said. "I'm putting them in a tough position right there, understanding how much the bullpen has been used."
Hoye's crew examined the 30-year-old right-hander during an April 15 start against Minnesota, when German retired his first 16 batters, but allowed him to stay in that game. Hoye had asked German to wash rosin off his hand and some had remained on the pitcher's pinkie finger.
"It was just the rosin bag," German reiterated after the win. "The rosin bags, you have a rock one and you have a sand one. And I used a lot of the sand one. A couple of games ago, they said I was not using it enough on the mound. Tonight, I was using it on the mound and that's it."
Boone didn't question the umpires' decision, and didn't speak out on the topic in his postgame media availability.
"The reality is we should all have a very good idea what the line is," he said. "Apparently Domingo crossed it tonight."
Aaron Judge, who broke a 3-3 tie with a two-run homer a day after controversy swirled around another one of his home runs, told reporters that he'd have a conversation with German.
"That's a tough situation. I think Domingo learned from what happened tonight. It's a tough spot," Judge said. "He was pitching great, that situation happened, and so that's definitely something that we'll talk about over the next couple of days."
Mets pitcher Max Scherzer was suspended for sticky stuff on April 20, and Seattle's Héctor Santiago and Arizona's Caleb Smith were suspended in 2021.
German was replaced by Ian Hamilton, who was removed after five batters and 27 pitches because of right groin tightness.
"I think he's going to be down a little bit," Boone said.
Judge, booed during his at-bats following allegations of sign stealing Monday, was right in the middle of the headlines again Tuesday. After he struck out in the third inning, there was a brief shouting match between Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker and Yankees third base coach Luis Rojas. Walker went to the outfield end of the dugout, yelling and gesturing at Rojas, a former Mets manager.
"It's just silliness," Boone said. "It's silliness. It's ridiculous. And I think everyone -- I hope -- on both sides realizes that."
There was additional tension in both dugouts at the same time. Upset and looking for clarity, Boone came out to discuss the situation with the umpires, prompting Toronto manager John Schneider to yell over in Boone's direction.
"Pete, more playfully than anything else, was saying 'I'm watching you, [Rojas],'" Schneider said after the loss. "And you probably all heard that. But Rojas took exception to it. It's two competitive teams. ... I think it's people being competitive."
The Blue Jays manager was impressed with German early on, though he expressed disappointment in how it all ended.
"It's unfortunate that that happens, for the sport, for the game," he said. "He had good stuff first time through the order. ... But to each their own."
Before batting practice, Judge said he doesn't appreciate being branded a potential cheater after he took a sideways peek before hitting a 462-foot home run in Monday's 7-4 win. Judge said after the series opener that he was looking to see who in the Yankees dugout was yelling.
"I've got some choice words about that, but I'm just going to keep that off the record," Judge said.
He then went out and decided the game with his third home run of the series.
"Any time you can give your team the lead, those swings are always nice," Judge said. "We took the early lead, we couldn't really get any more off Gausman, and they've got a great lineup over there and they battled back. So, it's a 3-3 game, and anytime you can give your team the lead, it is nice."
Schneider said he didn't think much of Judge's explanation.
"I'm not in the business of buying postgame media," he said. "It's a really accomplished hitter who won the MVP last year. I know that he means nothing but business and wants to win. I just found it a little funny that he was worrying about his dugout while he was in the batter's box."
Judge was asked Tuesday how New York handles distractions and critiques like that of Schneider.
"We're here to play baseball. We're focused on one thing, and that's between the lines and what we've got to do win those nine innings. ... Any other noise, any other distraction, it doesn't bother us."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.