Reds starter Graham Ashcraft told to remove wedding band during substance check

Cincinnati Reds right-handed starter Graham Ashcraft was asked to remove his silicone wedding band, worn on his glove hand, during a foreign substance check when exiting the field Saturday. Ashcraft later said he was told that while it is not a new rule, umpires just started enforcing the policy Friday.

“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,'” Ashcraft told the media. “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.”

Ashcraft added that he asked the home plate umpire to confirm the policy, and the umpire said it was just implemented Friday. The pitcher wore the ring on his chain necklace for the rest of his outing.

Reds manager David Bell later confirmed he did get a memo about enforcing the rule.

“I hadn’t read it super close, so as soon as Graham came off the field, I knew I had received that, so we went and double-checked and there is a rule and they just reminded us recently,” he said. “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. 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.”

The policy in question falls under Rule 6.02(c)(7) in the MLB rulebook, which prohibits foreign substances, and states in an additional comment: “The pitcher may not attach anything to either hand, any finger or either wrist (e.g., Band-Aid, tape, Super Glue, bracelet, etc.). The umpire shall determine if such attachment is indeed a foreign substance for the purpose of Rule 6.02(c)(7), but in no case may the pitcher be allowed to pitch with such attachment to his hand, finger or wrist.”

Ashcraft went five innings in Saturday’s 7-3 loss to the Brewers, giving up six earned runs on eight hits. The 24-year-old has a 3.51 ERA and 1.17 WHIP through six starts this season.

(Photo: David Kohl / USA Today)