Max Scherzer was not the least bit pleased as umpires checked him mid-inning for foreign substances in a game in Philadelphia last week. However, at least one of his teammates took the incident a bit more light-heartedly—shortstop Trea Turner.
“I was kinda giggling all game a little bit because, I mean, he’s a character,” Turner said in a recent episode of the Chris Rose Rotation. “Just the whole thing, every inning you don’t know what to expect—the mound visit, the random checks.”
The league recently released a memo stating that any player caught using sticky substances would receive a 10-game suspension, particularly affecting pitchers.
During Washington’s duel against Philadelphia, Phillies manager Joe Girardi requested the umpires check Scherzer multiple times during the game, infuriating the Nats’ ace. That is especially funny, according to Trea Turner, given what kind of a player Scherzer is.
“He’s so locked in before the game. Everybody comes in from the bullpen for the most part and they’ll high five you…and he walks right by everybody, goes straight down into the tunnel and he’s locked in,” Turner said. “He’s just a different guy on days he pitches. That’s how he is, so it’s funny having somebody else have to deal with him and have to get him to do something, because all he wants to do is pitch and pitch only.”
Girardi even wanted the officials to check Scherzer’s hair because the three-time Cy Young Award winner was wiping his head ‘suspiciously.’ So, crew chief Alfonso Márquez had the unenviable task of checking Scherzer’s hair, which only added to the hilarity of the situation.
“Rubbing the head, I mean, I can’t believe that actually happened,” Turner said. “I guess it’s the world we live in now. It’s the game we’re playing and we gotta roll with it and so, you gotta laugh at it I guess…You can’t not laugh at that.”
While the Scherzer incident was laughable because the ace didn’t actually have any suspicious substances on his person, other checks around the league have not been taken so lightly. Tampa Bay Rays’ righty Tyler Glasnow thinks Girardi was out of line in having Scherzer checked, partially because Glasnow himself has recently battled an injury which he unequivocally believes was caused by the MLB’s substance crackdown. Seattle Mariners’ pitcher Héctor Santiago just became the first player ejected in a ‘sticky substance’ check after an unusual substance was found on his glove.
Luckily for Washington, Scherzer had nothing to worry about. Well, except for having a stranger picking through his hair. “I feel bad for Alfonso for sure. I mean, I know he doesn’t want to do it and somebody’s basically making him do it, and that’s five innings of sweat and just—oh man, I wouldn’t want to be him,” Turner said.