Gerrit Cole, Others Named in Lawsuit Involving Illegal Ball-Doctoring Substances

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New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole is one of several star pitchers who were named in a lawsuit for using illegal ball-doctoring substances provided by a former visiting Angels clubhouse manager. 

Brian “Bubba” Harkins, who was dismissed in March after an MLB investigation revealed he was helping visiting pitchers with ball-gripping substances, had a lawsuit filed via his attorney on Thursday against the Angels and MLB, according to the Los Angeles Times. The filing follows an attempt by the Angels and MLB to dismiss Harkins' previous motion claiming defamation.

Harkins names multiple pitchers in the lawsuit who used his "concoctions" and claimed he was made a "public scapegoat" in MLB's efforts to enforce its policy on banned illegal substances to improve pitchers' grip. 

Among the other star pitchers named to have used "foreign substances" are Cole, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Felix Hernandez, Corey Kluber and Adam Wainwright. Several Angels pitchers were also named.

In the lawsuit, Harkins says he provided evidence to MLB that the aforementioned players used banned substances in aiding their grip. The Los Angeles Times specifically references a text exchange between Harkins and Cole, who allegedly inquired about attaining grip-aiding substances for cold weather locations last January.

Harkins, 55, was with the Angels organization for nearly 40 years before being fired by former Angels general manager Billy Eppler last March. His dismissal came three days after MLB issued a memo to teams about its rule banning illegal grip-aiding substances.

Daniel Rasmussen, Harkins' attorney, said he will seek at least $4 million in damages if the case goes to trial. 

Rasmussen argues that Harkins' reputation "has been trashed" as a result of MLB's investigation and firing.

Other players and employees vouched for Harkins in the lawsuit, stating that many people in the Angles organization were aware of the "mixture of rosin and pine tar" he provided to pitchers. Harkins was previously interviewed by MLB after his dismissal as part of their investigation into the use of banned ball-gripping substances in the league.