Mets' Edwin Diaz ejected before ninth inning against Cubs after check for sticky stuff

New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz was ejected by umpire crew chief Vic Carapazza prior to the ninth inning of Sunday night's 5-2 win against the Chicago Cubs after the umpiring crew carried out a check for sticky substances.

Umpire Brian Walsh made the initial check before each of the four umpires assessed Diaz's right hand and made the decision it was too sticky and threw him out of the game.

"They thought it was too much," Mets manager Carlos Mendoza told reporters. "Diaz kept saying it was rosin, sweat and dirt. The umpire thought that he crossed the line there. Obviously the rules are the rules, and they made the decision to throw him out."

An ejection for violating Major League Baseball's use of illegal foreign substances comes with a 10-game suspension.

MLB's Rule 6.02 states that players cannot “have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance." Pitchers are permitted to use a rosin bag on their hands, wrist and forearm but cannot apply it to their gloves or uniforms. Diaz said he had used the same substances — rock rosin, sweat and dirt — before trotting out for the ninth inning of the Mets' 5-2 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

"I was really surprised because I didn't have anything on my hand, my glove, my belt. They always check my hat, everything," Diaz told reporters. "They thought it was sticky a lot and I just said, 'Hey, you can check my hand, smell my hand.' They didn't smell anything, but they threw me out of the game."

The Mets have had two pitchers previously suspended following checks for sticky substances on the field: Max Scherzer and Drew Smith in 2023. In April, the Astros' Ronel Blanco was the first pitcher of 2024 to be ejected and suspended following an illegal substance check.

"Obviously this my first one. Yeah, we gotta do a better job, bottom line," Mendoza said. "These are the rules and it's a teaching moment. Obviously, Diaz knew that he was pretty honest with Vic. He said, 'Hey, I'm a man here. I'm honest.' But like I said, the rules are the rules."

Now the Mets face the reality of not having their closer for the next three series, plus the series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates. If Diaz began serving the suspension immediately, he would be eligible to return on July 6 against the Pirates.

"We've been through a lot this year, and we'll find a way to get through it," Mendoza said. "We'll continue to piece it together, and yeah, guys are going to have to step up. I'm pretty confident that we'll get guys here that are going to be able to get us to the finish line here when he's down."

Diaz was replaced by Smith for the save situation in the bottom of the ninth inning with the Mets leading by three runs. Smith was forced to warm up on the mound following the quick call to the bullpen. After recording two outs, Smith gestured to the dugout and was visited by Mendoza but remained in the game.

"Just a little stiff," Smith said. "Just trouble warming up a little bit. I've been throwing a lot this week and I think I probably could've taken a little more time to warm up out there, to be completely honest. Nothing major, just having trouble getting loose a little bit."

After Dansby Swanson singled, Jake Diekman came on to record the final out and lock up his third save of the season. With the win, the Mets improved to 37-39 and grabbed their fourth straight series

During Diaz's absence earlier with a right shoulder impingement, Mendoza leaned on Diekman, Reed Garrett and Adam Ottavino in those high-leverage situations in the past. Dedniel Nuñez has emerged of late, as well.

This article originally appeared on Edwin Diaz ejected after sticky stuff check in Mets-Cubs game