Spot on Craig Kimbrel's hat comes into question


Luis Rojas joined Carton & Roberts for his weekly segment on Wednesday, he wouldn’t give up exactly what he said to home plate umpire John Lipka to get ejected from Tuesday’s game, his first career ejection as a manager.

“I don’t know what to say there; I guess it had to happen, but it’s a good thing we’re wearing masks so we can’t read lips,” Rojas joked, “but I said something along the lines of needing to clean it up. It wasn’t anything major, more about the performance of the game.”

That said, Rojas wanted to reiterate his utmost respect for the officials.

“It’s a tough job, and we all have emotions during the game. I don’t wake up today prepared to do everything I do to get thrown out in the game, but it’s a tough job,” Rojas said. “But I think (Cubs catcher) Willson Contreras is great at presenting strikes, and I think they got a few calls there and we didn’t get a few, and that’s what led to it.”

It’s a weird situation for managers and umpires this season more than others, too, as umpires are traveling with teams and a lot of crews are working back-to-back series with the same team – or, in the Mets’ case, this is the third straight series where they’ve had Joe West’s crew.

“They’re like part of the bubble, and I think that’s a wise decision from a health standpoint,” Rojas said. “We’ve seen them a few series now, but the respect part hasn’t changed about when you have arguments or anything.”

One thing Rojas did but didn’t see is something Evan Roberts pointed out earlier in the show: Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel seemed to have a white circle on his hat, something that Evan noted could’ve been a foreign substance but wasn’t something the Mets seemed to pick up on in the moment.

“I’m not in the dugout and it’s a tough thing to see from us on the first base side, but I did see it on TV, the white spot on his cap,” Rojas said. “It’s something that can be checked, because I know MLB is encouraging us to check and cracking down on using illegal substances on the ball, but I thought it was a tough thing to pick up actually being on the field.”

So, will the Mets say something prior to, or during, tonight’s game?

“It’s something that can always be asked, and it’s a courtesy, so if we pick it up and see he touches or something, maybe,” Rojas said. “The grip part, we know is because of the control more than anything. There’s a lot said about improving spin rate and stiff, but I know pitchers also don’t want to sail the ball and be hitting guys. I don’t know who does or doesn’t do it, but it’s something you can pay attention to if you see it live.”

But what if it’s one of the Mets who is also doing it?

“That’s not our mentality here; I don’t know what’s used, but I’ve always known about the grip, and I don’t know if it’s to improve the quality of your pitches,” Rojas said. “There are things being said, but I don’t know who does it. I don’t see anyone on our team discussing it. We’ve relayed the MLB notices for guys not to use it, but sometimes guys like to use Rosin, and that could be what they have somewhere else.”

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