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Pitchers unsure on new rule

NEW YORK — Gerrit Cole hardly expects a smooth transition when Major League Baseball ups its efforts against sticky substances.

Then again, the Yankees ace — like many around the game — isn’t entirely sure what’s going to happen.

“I don’t have a lot of expectations, to be honest,” Cole said. “I think I’m in the same boat as everyone else, just waiting for this to play out.”

Beginning today, pitchers will be ejected and suspended for 10 games if caught using foreign substances to doctor baseballs. Such grip aids — ranging from a tacky mix of rosin and sunscreen to heavy duty concoctions designed for use in strongman competitions — have long been illegal, but the ban has rarely been enforced.

That changes this week. Major and minor league umpires will make regular checks of all pitchers, even if opposing managers don’t request inspections — a shift ordered by the commissioner’s office and shared with teams via memo on Tuesday.

Umpires will check all starters multiple times and all relievers either at the end of his first inning or when removed, whichever occurs first. Caps, gloves and fingertips will be checked. Umps also may check when they notice sticky balls or when they perceive a pitcher going to his glove, cap, belt, uniform or body in a manner that may be to retrieve or apply a substance.

“It definitely will be probably a little awkward,” Cubs manager David Ross said Sunday. “But we’ll get through it, adjust.”

Players suspended for violations will not be replaced on the active roster. Catchers will also be subject to routine inspections and position players may be searched, too.

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