Astros' Ronel Blanco Ejected From Game for Foreign Substance, Faces Suspension

The Houston Astros starting pitcher will be suspended after being ejected following a foreign substance check.
May 14, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Ronel Blanco (56) reacts after being ejected.
May 14, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Ronel Blanco (56) reacts after being ejected. / Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
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The Houston Astros may have a scandal on their hands as starting pitcher Ronel Blanco was ejected for the presence of a foreign substance on his glove.

Here how the MLB rule book defines this situation:

No player is permitted to intentionally damage, deface or discolor the baseball by rubbing it with any type of foreign item or substance, including dirt or saliva.Failure to follow this rule will result in an ejection and an automatic 10-game suspension.

Blanco now faces a 10-game suspension at an absolutely awful time for Houston. They will be without their most consistent pitcher this season as they try to claw back into the playoffs.

Houston will now be short a starting pitcher. This comes the day after they instituted a six-man rotation because of their heavy stretch of games with little rest.

Now, they will need to hope Jose Urqruidy can come back even sooner from injury as they need a new arm for the next 10 days.

Blanco had been a surprising, but welcome breakout star to this point in the season. His 2024 debut saw him no-hit the Toronto Blue Jays and he has stayed successful with a 2.09 ERA after eight appearances this season. He's only allowed more than two runs once this season.

He was cruising against the Oakland Athletics, making it through three innings with just four hits allowed and four strikeouts.

Crawfish Boxes' Astros Stats page took to X to take a look at the spin rate on his pitches compared to his season averages.

While his fastball and slider had higher spin rates, the changeup and cutter were lower than usual. The spin rate numbers stand out as abnmoral or point to the obvious use of a sticky substance, but Laz Diaz had enough evidence to end Blanco's night.


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Dylan Sanders

DYLAN SANDERS

Dylan Sanders graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree from the Manship School of Mass Communication in 2023. He was born in raised in Baton Rouge, LA but has also lived in Buffalo, NY. Though he is a recent graduate, he has been writing about sports since he was in high school, covering different sports from baseball to football. While in college, he wrote for the school paper The Reveille and for 247Sports. He was able cover championships in football, baseball and women's basketball during his time at LSU. He has also spent a few years covering the NFL draft and every day activities of the New Orleans Saints. He is a Senior Writer at Inside the Marlins and will also be found across Sports Illustrated's baseball sites as a contributing writer. You can follow him on Twitter or Instagram @dillysanders