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Yankees' Jameson Taillon is excited to get the 'sticky stuff' out of the game

Kristie Ackert, New York Daily News on

Published in Baseball

MINNEAPOLIS — Jameson Taillon is ready for pitchers to go cold turkey. The Yankees right-hander said he has no issue with MLB’s crackdown on pitchers using illegal “sticky stuff.”

And he thinks the Yankees pitching staff will be just fine.

“If they’re gonna police it properly, and they’re actually taking this seriously; umpires are gonna go out there and inspect pitchers and the game’s going to be clean, then I’m really excited for it,” Taillon said Thursday before the Yankees’ series finale against the Twins at Target Field. “My personal take on it is, I think it’s going to help really talented teams and talented groups. When I look inside our locker room, I think it’s going to actually help us going forward. I know, that seems crazy to say, but we have so much talent in our room that I think eliminating the sticky stuff can actually help us as a group.”

The Yankees were in the center of the “Sticky Stuff,” tempest this week as MLB prepares to crack down on the use of super-tacky substances like Spider Tack and Pelican Grip. Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson called out ace Gerrit Cole for having his spin rate suddenly drop in his first start after MLB suspended four minor leaguers for violating the illegal substances on the baseball rule. Cole then went out and struck out Donaldson twice and retired him all three times he faced him Wednesday night.

Cole has become the face of this controversy and for Taillon, who has been close with him since they were in the Pirates organization, it was hard to watch his friend get dragged in the national spotlight.

“I mean, as a friend, that was tough to see, but I was happy he went out there and had a great game last night. Gerrit’s one of those guys that I’ve watched the way he prepares and stuff for a long time. I’m confident that he’s going to be the same guy going forward,” Taillon said. “If not even better. I think this may have lit a little bit of a fire under him. ... I don’t think some sticky stuff or whatever is what makes Gerrit Cole Gerrit Cole.”

Taillon said he will be fine when MLB does begin the crackdown and won’t have to change anything. He said during his latest rehab from Tommy John surgery he used some Spider Tack that a friend had a can of.

 

“I couldn’t even throw the ball with it. It gave me the yips. It freaked me out. So I mean, that was enough for me,” Taillon said. “I think some people have figured out a way to make that kind of stuff work. But for me, it wasn’t the answer. But again, I know I’ve said it, but I think it’s going to be fun to have a fair playing field going forward. I think it’s going to be good for the game.”

Taillon has listened to hitters talk about the disadvantage it has put them in and watched plenty of pitchers take advantage of it. He said he’s seen the evidence of sticky substances dramatically affecting the game.

“We have iPads down in the dugout, and just sometimes out of curiosity, I’ll go back and look at a strikeout pitch or whatever. I love going back and watching from a different angle, and you’ll see a guy through like a 2300 rpm fastball, and then on the very next pitch there is a 2800 rpm fastball, which is pretty insane,” Taillon said. “So what these hitters are seeing and what they’re saying, definitely matches up.”

So, Taillon thinks the best thing for baseball right now is for pitchers to go cold turkey.

“Like if we’re going to do this, I think for now, the best thing to do is just completely eliminate it. And then if a problem arises, or guys start getting hit even more than they are right now in the colder months or something, maybe we can revisit it,” Taillon said. “But I personally don’t love rosin, but I think it’s one of those things that it’s best if we just don’t allow anything right now.”

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