Kevin Gross of the Philadelphia Phillies, caught with an...

NEW YORK -- Kevin Gross of the Philadelphia Phillies, caught with an abrasive substance glued to his glove, Tuesday became the second pitcher in less than a week to be suspended 10 days for cheating.

The suspension was appealed by the Major League Players Association.


Gross's glove was sent to the National League office after he was ejected in the fifth inning of Monday night's game against the Chicago Cubs.

NL President A. Bartlett Giamatti found Gross in violation of rule 8.02 (b), prohibiting a pitcher from having 'on his person or in his possession any foreign substance,' a league spokeswoman said. The suspension was to be effective immediately but was delayed, pending resolution of the appeal.

No date was set for hearing the appeal and Gross remained on the Phillies' active roster.

Joe Niekro of the Minnesota Twins was caught with an emery board and a piece of sandpaper in his pants pocket last Monday in Anaheim, Calif., and was suspended by American League President Bobby Brown. Before Niekro, no pitcher had been suspended for cheating since Gaylord Perry in 1982.


Unlike Niekro's suspension, Gross's penalty was not automatic because he was not caught scuffing the baseballs.

'We don't have any balls here in the office,' the league spokeswoman said. 'Any time a player is ejected, he is subject to discipline.'

The Players Association is basing its appeal on the fact Gross was not caught scuffing baseballs.

'Based on the TV, he was caught in possession of a glove that had sandpaper,' said Gene Orza, associate general counsel with the players union. 'Whether or not he was scuffing the ball remains in question. Possession of sandpaper leads to ejection from the game, not suspension.'

Gross, winless in his last eight starts, was ejected in the fifth inning of the Phillies' 4-2 victory after Chicago Manager Gene Michael complained to the umpires he was scuffing the ball.

Gross Tuesday admitted there was sandpaper on his glove but denied he had scuffed any balls.

'I was not scuffing any balls in the game last night,' he said. 'There was no reason for me to be checked. Nothing was done with the ball.'

Gross said the sandpaper was 'something I was fooling with, I didn't use it. I've never done anything like it before. I learned a lesson, I guess.'


Home plate umpire Charlie Williams inspected the ball and found no mark, then he and third base umpire John Kibler looked at Gross's glove.

'We looked at the glove and a piece of emery paper or sandpaper was glued inside the glove,' said Kibler, who confiscated the glove.

Phillies Manager Lee Elia said he looked at the ball and saw no scuff mark, but did not examine the glove closely.

'I did see some discoloration,' he said. 'This might sound funny, but without my glasses, I can't see real close.'

Gross, 6-10 with a 4.77 ERA, gave up six hits and both Chicago runs in 4 1-3 innings.

Elia said Tuesday he did not condone cheating by any of his players.

'I know this thing is going on,' he said. 'I have a drawer full of (scuffed) balls too. But there's no credibility in assuming that if someone else does it, you have to do it also.'

Michael said he suspected Gross of scuffing in his last start against the Cubs July 31.

'I knew he was doing something in Chicago,' Michael said. 'I knew the balls were scuffed. I would have protested in Chicago, but we were hitting him pretty good (nine hits and four runs in five innings).'


The decision on Gross reflects an increased crackdown on cheating. Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth issued a ruling last week allowing managers to ask umpires to confiscate the bat of one player on an opposing team in every game.

Michael said Monday 10 days was too little punishment for pitchers caught cheating.

'The only way to stop it is to have a severe penalty,' Michael said. 'There are more pitchers scuffing the ball now than years ago and it can be stopped.

'It's like what (Cubs pitcher Rick) Sutcliffe says. He said, 'Ten days doesn't scare a pitcher. That's only one or two starts.' It's going to take one or two months or maybe three months out of the season. It's got to be pretty severe to stop it around the league.'

Gross will lose $23,333 in pay during the suspension and the Phillies will not be able to fill his spot on the roster.

Said Elia: 'I truly was shocked when it all happened. I had no idea that something like that was in the thought patterns of any of our pitchers, but I don't want to make the assumption that Kevin had anything in his glove.'

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