Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright admitted on Monday that he used a foreign substance to alter the flight and spin of the baseball in 2019.
Wainwright was among the numerous notable pitchers named in a Sports Illustrated report detailing foreign substances in baseball. Wainwright—along with Nationals ace Max Scherzer and Yankees star Gerrit Cole—reportedly received a sticky mixture of substances to apply to the baseball from former Los Angeles Angels equipment manager Bubba Harkins. SI’s report noted Wainwright paid Harkins $300 via Venmo during the 2019 season before Harkins was fired by the Angels.
"I’ve got nothing to hide. What Bubba said is true. I tried it in 2019. Obviously, it didn’t work for me," Wainwright said Monday. "You can check the order. I only had one order with that guy. I gave it away very soon afterward."
Wainwright’s comments come in the wake of increased scrutiny on foreign substances in baseball. MLB issued its new policy on the matter on Tuesday, announcing it will suspend players for 10 days if they are caught using any foreign substance on the ball. Enforcement of the new policy will begin on Monday.
Umpires will be expected to check for foreign substances between innings under MLB's new rules. Cardinals pitcher Giovanny Gallegos was forced to remove his hat due to a substance in May, which led to the ejection of St. Louis manager Mike Shildt. The Cardinals' skipper praised Wainwright Monday night and commended him for his honesty on the matter.
"Don’t you appreciate a man of integrity?" Shildt said. "He easily could have tried to alibi his way out of it in front of you and owned up to it. I got a lot of respect for a guy who stands up and says, 'I gave it a whirl to see what it was all about.' Didn't like it and stood up and said it."
Wainwright, 39, is a three-time All-Star and 2006 World Series champion. He has been with the Cardinals since 2005, tallying 171 wins and a career 3.40 ERA. Wainwright sits No. 2 on the franchise's all-time strikeouts list behind Bob Gibson.