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Yankees Gerrit Cole road grey 6/16

Yankees Gerrit Cole road grey 6/16

Whether he cares or not, Gerrit Cole has become one of the faces of MLB’s new foreign substance rules for pitchers. On Monday, those new rules will be enforced, which includes checking pitchers for any substances that might be deemed illegal to pitch with.

The ace also just so happens to be starting in the first game the Yankees play where umpires will enforce this new normalcy. That will begin Monday with the Yanks facing the Royals on Tuesday to begin a new series.

So does he think he’s going to be looked at more than other pitchers?

“I don’t have any expectation in terms of that,” he told reporters on Sunday via Zoom.

“I think I’m in the same boat as everyone else, waiting to see how this plays out. Certainly, we’re not trying to be ejected. We know the ramifications on the roster and what not moving forward from that. It will be interesting to see and we’ll be prepared to adjust and all that and be within the rules.”

Cole was explicit about his thoughts on following the rules while potentially figuring something out with MLB to allow a legal “sticky substance” that allows for better grip on the baseball.

“It’s so hard to grip the ball,” Cole said after going eight innings in his last start for a win over the Blue Jays. “For Pete’s sake, it’s part of the reason why almost every player on the field has something, regardless if they’re a pitcher or not, to help them control the ball. I don’t have a solution, but again, we’re aligned in a lot of areas with the commissioner’s office on this.”

Cole said talks with MLB have continued throughout the week since he made those comments.

“We got some clarification on some areas,” he said. “Obviously, the new protocol is new, so we continue to talk and hammer some things out.”

As for what could possibly be that substance, Cole isn’t so sure yet. He wants more clarity elsewhere, talking to the right people to make sure he isn’t just spewing out answers to that question.

“It’s tough for me to answer that because I don’t want to sit here and ramble about random ideas,” he said. “I’d like to apply some critical thinking to it maybe when I see some data or have some conversations with people who have more expertise in terms of what adjustments they anticipate could make the changes they’re looking for,” he said. “Obviously, feedback from the players at a certain extent when we do grab the ball, when we do use the ball if universally we’re all on board with that.”

Until then, Cole and the rest of the Yankees will make sure they don’t have the first pitcher to be suspended due to checking gloves, belts, hats and more as the season rolls along. That new normal will be front and center when Cole gets the ball Monday.