Yankees’ Zack Britton has fix to MLB’s sticky substances problem

Zack Britton has a simple fix for MLB’s issue with pitchers using foreign substances.

“To me, it’s the baseball,” the Yankees veteran reliever said Friday before a game against the Athletics. “Since I’ve gotten to the big leagues, there’s always been talks every spring about getting a baseball very similar to what they use in Japan. Comes out of the box with a little bit of tack to it. It would probably prevent most players from using anything, even the rosin bag, just because it has a good grip already and there’s really no need to do anything else.

“So to me, this starts and ends with just a better baseball overall.”

Britton, the Yankees’ player representative, echoed teammate Gerrit Cole (another member of the MLB Players Association’s executive subcommittee) in hoping MLB will have conversations with the union about finding a middle ground on the issue. The league announced this week that it will begin on Monday to crack down on pitchers using any form of sticky substances.

The sudden enforcement of the rule has pitchers concerned about being able to grip the baseball.

Zack Britton
Zack Britton

“You can police the rule as much as you want if the baseball’s in good condition and you can grip it — there’d be no excuse to go to anything other than just throwing the baseball with nothing on your hands,” Britton said.

Aaron Judge, who won the 2017 Home Run Derby in Miami, said he has no plans to reenter his name for event next month in Denver.

“I haven’t even thought of it, to be honest,” Judge said. “I got no interest right now, unless the All-Star Game’s back in New York soon.”

After exiting Thursday’s game against the Blue Jays with lower-back stiffness, shortstop Gleyber Torres was in the lineup Friday batting third.

“I think we’re good there,” manager Aaron Boone said.

Gary Sanchez, who was hitting .333 (19-for-57) in his last 17 games, was out of the starting lineup. Boone said the catcher was “good” health-wise, but “got beat up a little bit” in Thursday’s win in Buffalo.

With a late flight home early Friday morning and a day game coming Saturday, Boone opted to start Kyle Higashioka behind the plate to catch Jameson Taillon.

Phil Nevin returned to his post as third base coach Friday for the first time since May 9, two days before the Yankees announced he had tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated.

Nevin, who experienced symptoms and also battled a staph infection that left him very sick, returned to the team at the beginning of June but wasn’t cleared to be on the field until Friday.

Corey Kluber (right shoulder strain) continued his throwing program Friday, playing catch on the field before the game. … LHP Justin Wilson (right hamstring strain) also threw a bullpen session.

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