Reds’ Graham Ashcraft told to remove wedding ring during substance check

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MLB umpires forced Cincinnati Reds starter Graham Ashcraft to remove his wedding ring as part of the league’s crackdown on pitchers using foreign substances to get a better grip on the baseball.

Ashcraft was wearing the band on his left hand which hides in his glove when he pitches. The Reds were playing the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday when he got told to take the jewelry off. He said the umpire told him the rule wasn’t new but they just started to enforce it Friday.

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Graham Ashcraft #51 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park on June 18, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

“The first base umpire comes up, checks my right hand as normal. Then he asks me to take my glove off and saw my ring. He goes, ‘You have to take your ring off,'” he told reporters after the game, through The Athletic. “I was like, ‘No, why do I have to take my ring off? I shouldn’t have to.’ Then apparently it’s some new rule they came up with yesterday.”

The rule states that a pitcher is barred from attaching anything to their hands.

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Milwaukee Brewers' Omar Narvaez, right, grounds out softly to Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Graham Ashcraft, left, during the second inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 18, 2022, in Cincinnati.

Milwaukee Brewers’ Omar Narvaez, right, grounds out softly to Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Graham Ashcraft, left, during the second inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 18, 2022, in Cincinnati.
(AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

Reds manager David Bell said he received the memo reminding players and managers about the policy enforcement but didn’t read it too closely.

“I think that helped, like the rule or not, it was something that was going to be enforced and Graham understood that after that explanation,” Bell said. “I did a poor job of explaining it before the game. Thankfully nothing bad happened. It was nice that they just warned him and made him aware of it.”

Ashcraft was tagged for six runs on eight hits in five innings. He struck out four batters as the Reds lost to the Brewers, 7-3.

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Graham Ashcraft throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Saturday, June 18, 2022, in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Graham Ashcraft throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Saturday, June 18, 2022, in Cincinnati.
(AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

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Ashcraft was called up to the big leagues last month. He’s made six starts for the Reds and has a 3.51 ERA in 33 1/3 innings along with 19 strikeouts.

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