HomeMLB RumorsRonel Blanco Ejected After Foreign Substance Check

Ronel Blanco Ejected After Foreign Substance Check

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Astros right-hander Ronel Blanco was ejected from this evening’s start against the A’s following a foreign substance inspection. Umpires confiscated Blanco’s glove when he came out for the fourth inning. Tayler Scott entered in relief.

It’s almost certain that the Astros will be without Blanco for the next week and a half. Players thrown out of a game for foreign substance usage are subject to an automatic 10-game suspension. MLB has yet to announce that in Blanco’s case but seems likely to do so tomorrow. Teams are not permitted to replace a player who is banned for an on-field rules violation. Assuming Blanco is suspended, the Astros will need to play with a 25-man roster for 10 games. Blanco told reporters (including Chandler Rome of the Athletic) that he plans to appeal if MLB imposes a suspension.

Blanco has been Houston’s best pitcher this year. He earned the fifth starter job late in camp and no-hit the Blue Jays in his season debut. The 30-year-old has followed up with another six strong outings. He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any start. Blanco pulled within one out of a quality start in all seven of his appearances until tonight. He was through another three scoreless frames against Oakland, bringing his season ERA to 2.09 over 47 1/3 frames.

While Blanco’s pedestrian strikeout and walk rates suggest he’s likelier to pitch like a mid-rotation arm moving forward, he has been a massive boost to an otherwise rough starting staff. Aside from Blanco, Hunter Brown and rookie Spencer Arrighetti are the only Houston pitchers who have made more than five starts. Brown and Arrighetti each have an ERA north of 7.00. That’s also true of J.P. France, who was optioned in late April and subsequently suffered a shoulder injury.

The Astros have welcomed Framber ValdezJustin Verlander and Cristian Javier back from the injured list over the past few weeks. Manager Joe Espada said last night that the Astros were going to run a six-man rotation of Valdez, Verlander, Javier, Blanco, Brown and Arrighetti for the time being (X link via MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart). That’s designed to manage the staff’s workloads as they navigate a stretch with only one day off until June 6. A likely suspension for Blanco could put that plan on hiatus for a couple weeks.


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