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Rays' Tyler Glasnow blames MLB's ban on foreign substances for UCL injury

Tampa Bay Rays starter Tyler Glasnow, shown Sept. 20, 2020, was injured during the Rays' game against the Chicago White Sox on Monday. File Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI
Tampa Bay Rays starter Tyler Glasnow, shown Sept. 20, 2020, was injured during the Rays' game against the Chicago White Sox on Monday. File Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI | License Photo

June 15 (UPI) -- Tampa Bay Rays ace Tyler Glasnow believes Major League Baseball's crackdown on foreign substances contributed to his partially torn ulnar collateral ligament and flexor tendon strain injuries.

Ahead of MLB's new initiative, Glasnow told reporters Tuesday that he stopped using sunscreen -- the only foreign substance he said he has ever used -- two starts ago and experienced soreness because of needing to adjust his grip on the ball. He did the same in his outing against the Chicago White Sox on Monday and felt something "pop."

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"I switched my fastball grip and my curveball grip," Glasnow said. "I had to put my fastball deeper into my hand and grip it way harder. Instead of holding my curveball at the tip of my fingers, I had to dig it deeper into my hand. I'm choking the [expletive] out of all my pitches."

Glasnow exited Monday's game against the White Sox after only four innings. He said he understands what MLB is trying to accomplish by preventing players from using Spider Tack and other sticky substances, but he has an issue with making the change in the middle of the season and removing everything all at once.

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The league informed clubs Tuesday that pitchers will be subject to random checks and could face ejections, fines and suspensions if foreign substances are found on them or in their gloves. The policy is set to begin June 21.

Glasnow said there were discussions going back a couple of weeks about a possible increase in injuries if MLB decided to ban anything that helps with grip.

"In my mind that sounds dumb," Glasnow said. "That sounds like an excuse a player would use to make sure he could use sticky stuff. I threw to the [Washington] Nationals ... I did well. I woke up the next day and I was sore in places I didn't even know I had muscles in."

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Glasnow recorded 11 strikeouts over seven innings against the Nationals on June 8 and said it was one of his better outings this season. For him, it proved he doesn't require any substances to aid his performance -- just to help him with his grip.

"Waking up after that start, I was like, 'This sucks,'" Glasnow said. "Something is weird here. That same feeling is persisting all week long. I go into my start [Monday] and that same feeling [is there], it pops or whatever the hell happened to my elbow. I feel it. Something happened.

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"Do it in the off-season. Give us a chance to adjust to it. But I just threw 80 innings, then you tell me I can't use anything in the middle of the year. I have to change everything I've been doing the entire season. I'm telling you, I truly believe that's why I got hurt."

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Glasnow could return in time for the playoffs because he won't have to undergo surgery, but the 27-year-old right-hander still feels his season took a significant blow.

"I'm sitting here, my lifelong dream. I want to go out and win a Cy Young," he said. "I want to be an All-Star and now it's [expletive] on. Now it's over. Now I have to rehab and try to get back in the playoffs. I'm clearly frustrated."

Glasnow plans to see another doctor Friday. He was placed on the 10-day injured list, and outfielder Mike Brosseau was recalled from Triple-A Durham in a corresponding roster move.

In 14 starts this season, Glasnow has a 5-2 record and 2.66 ERA with 123 strikeouts.

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