ATLANTA - Milwaukee Brewers reliever Will Smith was suspended for eight games on Friday for having a foreign substance on his pitching arm during a game at Atlanta.
Major League Baseball said Smith plans to appeal, so the penalty is on hold. Smith will be available for Friday night's game at the Braves.
Smith, a left-hander, was ejected for having rosin and sunscreen on his right forearm in the seventh inning of Thursday night's 10-1 loss to the Braves. He said after the game he put the substance on his forearm before warming up in the bullpen on a brisk night. He expressed regret for not wiping it off before entering the game.
Smith said he uses the substances to help him feel the ball better.
"That's it. It's the grip," he said. "It's not going to spin more. You're not going to throw harder. You've got what you got."
It's widely acknowledged pitchers use similar practices to grip the ball better even though it's against the rules. Batters, including Atlanta's Freddie Freeman, even say they'd rather pitchers use substances that decrease odds of them being hit by pitches.
"Every pitcher does it," Freeman said after Thursday night's game. "As a hitter, you want them to do it so they'll have a better grip so we won't get hit in the head."
Brewers manager Craig Counsell said the tactic of using illegal substances is "very common."
"It goes on on the other side, I guarantee you," Counsell said. "It's the rule. I think pitchers are using it, but I guess you've got to be discreet about it."
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he could see the substances on Smith's arm "glistening through the lights." Gonzalez informed the umpires.
Crew chief Jim Joyce walked to the mound, touched Smith's arm and tossed the reliever from the game. Television cameras showed a shiny substance that was visible on Smith's forearm.
"He offered his arm," Joyce told a pool reporter. "I touched it and immediately knew it was a foreign substance. Unfortunately for him, he has to be ejected."
Smith yelled at Gonzalez in the Braves' dugout on his way off the field.