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Phillies not worried about surprising Valdez rub from Astros | WGN 720 Radio

HOUSTON (AP) — Philadelphia Phillies manager Rob Thomson says he’s not concerned about Houston starter Framber Valdez’s unusual hand rub during Game 2 of the World Series, playing down speculation on social media that The left-hander was up to something fishy during a dominating game in the win.

In videos circulating online, Valdez repeatedly rubbed the thumb of his left hand over his right palm and then rubbed the ball between pitches. Valdez threw a shutout in the seventh inning of the Astros’ 5-2 win, which evened the streak at apiece.

Thomson said the Philadelphia dugout noticed what Valdez was doing but wasn’t concerned that he was adding a foreign substance to the ball.

“Yeah, we did… everything on Twitter,” he said. “The umpires check on these guys after almost every pitch, and if something happens, MLB will take care of it.”

Valdez was amused that people thought he was a ball drop.

“No one should think of this as anything wrong,” he said through a translator. “I do it outdoors. But these are all my tendencies. I do this throughout the game. Maybe distract the attacker a bit from what I’m doing. Like, I’m looking, I’m rubbing different things, and nothing about the pitch I’m going to throw. I’ve been doing that all season.”

Valdez allowed four hits and one run with nine strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings to pick up his sixth win of the postseason. That ties Pedro Martinez for the most playoff wins by a pitcher born in the Dominican Republic.

Suspicions of illegal catch aids peaked in the 2021 season, prompting Major League Baseball to crack down with in-game background checks.

During Game 3 of the NL Wild Card Series, New York Mets manager Buck Showalter asked the umpires to check San Diego Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove for an illegal bunt. They checked the right-hander in several places, including rubbing his unusually shiny ears, but found no evidence of anything illegal.

Valdez said rubbing his hands together is just one of the unusual things he likes to do while pitching. Midway through his Saturday outing, he changed his gloves and cleats — and it turns out, some other stuff, too.

“I usually have different spikes when I’m warming up and the ones I have going into the game,” he said. “Today I decided to start the game with the ones I warmed up in. I had a long inning and I was like, ‘You know what, I’m going to turn things around. I’ll change the gloves, belt, boots.” And these are just things that we Dominicans do, just some trends here and there … but just things to stay free.”


AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


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