Four minor league pitchers have been suspended this season by Major League Baseball after being caught using illegal foreign substances to doctor baseballs. The bans signal a stronger crackdown in the game’s feeder system than in the big leagues during a historically dominant stretch by pitchers. The use of homebrewed tacky substances is suspected to have spiked in recent seasons as pitchers have learned the extent to which illicit sticky stuff can increase the spin rates on their fastballs, making the pitches more effective. MLB this season has increased oversight by inspecting more baseballs, but major league pitchers have rarely been punished. The suspended minor league players have been in the Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers systems.
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