Astros no-hitter hero Ronel Blanco ejected for sticky substance on glove

Ronel Blanco threw the first no-hitter of the MLB season. Now he's the first pitcher to be ejected for a foreign substance on his glove this year.
May 14, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Ronel Blanco (56) prior to the
May 14, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Ronel Blanco (56) prior to the / Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Astros haven't had much to cheer about in the first two months of the 2024 season. Well below .500 and trailing the As in the AL West standings, it's been rough.

The one bright spot was Ronel Blanco. The unlikely hero who barely made the roster threw a no-hitter on Apr. 1, his first start of the season. And he's been great since, compiling a 6-1 record with an ERA of 2.23.

On Tuesday, the Cinderella story took an unexpected turn. Umpires checked Blanco's glove and ejected him because of a suspected sticky substance.

MLB's crackdown on sticky substances has resulted in many ejections over the last couple of years. The ejections are often accompanied by a suspension, usually spanning 10 games. So Blanco's punishment may not be over.

Pitchers will often argue that the only aid they use to grip the ball is sweat and rosin. It is illegal for any other substance to be used.

What's strange is that the umpires didn't let Blanco wash his hands or change his glove and continue. Other pitchers have been given that opportunity. What did they find in the glove that convinced them those options weren't available to them.

If Blanco had a foreign substance in his glove that would cloud the rest of his success this season. Having said that, umpires in all those previous games will have been checking his glove between innings all along. They didn't find anything before. Either Blanco was expertly hiding a substance or something changed on Tuesday. Or the umpires got it wrong.

MLB will have to be the judge of that.

As for the Astros, they're in danger of losing their best pitcher this year for a couple of games just as they got on a positive run. They had won four of their last five going into Tuesday's game against Oakland