CHICAGO (AP) — Miami Marlins pitcher Alex Sanabia said he didn’t know it was illegal to spit directly onto a baseball.
He knows now.
Sanabia said Friday he spit on a baseball earlier in the week to get a better grip, not to get more movement on his pitches. He also repeated he didn’t know it was illegal.
“I didn’t know. I was in my zone and just grooving. It’s something you live and learn from. I didn’t mean anything bad by it or I didn’t mean to do anything more,” Sanabia said. “It’s something that showed up that way and people all of a sudden just create their own perception of.”
Sanabia and Marlins manager Mike Redmond said they haven’t been contacted by Major League Baseball about the incident, which happened during the second inning of Monday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Miami. Sanabia had given up a home run to the Phillies’ Domonic Brown, and then cameras caught the 24-year-old pitcher spitting on the ball.
“I don’t know what they expect from spitting on it,” Sanabia said. “My intention wasn’t to be like ‘Let’s get more movement.’ My intention was I need more grip.”
Sanabia was asked if he had done this before and said he hadn’t, instead licking his fingers. The reason he chose to spit directly on the ball was because it was “super slick.”
Redmond, meanwhile, considers it a closed issue.
“I think he’s going to be way more aware of that. I don’t think he’s going to do that again,” Redmond said. “I don’t think he even realized he did it.”
Sanabia (3-6) is scheduled to pitch Sunday for the Marlins in the finale of their three-game series against the White Sox. On Monday he ended a personal five-game losing streak, pitching 6 1-3 innings and allowing just the Brown home run in a 5-1 Miami win.