Cincinnati Reds Pitcher Graham Ashcraft Sheds Wedding Ring at Umpire’s Request

by Patrick Norton

Umpires notified Graham Ashcraft – a 24-year-old starting pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds – during a substance check on Saturday of a policy that prohibits the sporting of a wedding ring on the pitcher’s mound.

It’s not uncommon for an umpire to request that a pitcher trim the strings of a glove, usually at the batter’s appeal. Rules prohibit stadiums from white backgrounds or distracting lights in centerfield and beyond. But the removal of Graham Ashcraft’s ring doesn’t line up with any sort of distraction.

In Major League Baseball‘s recent quest to quash the usage of banned foreign substances to enhance unnatural grip on the baseball, rings and jewelry miss the cut, too. However, until a recent league-wide memo brought the policy under the microscope, umpires didn’t enforce the code.

Rule 6.02(c)(7) of the league’s rulebook outlines the prohibition: “The pitcher may not attach anything to either hand, any finger or either wrist (e.g., Band-Aid, tape, Super Glue, bracelet, etc.).”

First base umpire John Tumpane maintains a positive reputation around the league, and his quiet heads-up without making the situation into a bigger-than-necessary deal received appreciation from Reds manager David Bell: “Thankfully nothing bad happened. It was nice that they just warned him and made him aware of it.”

The right-handed Ashcraft would sport the band on a chain around his neck for the remainder of the game.

Ashcraft, Reds Engaged in Battle for Last Place

Graham Ashcraft’s foreign substance check didn’t yield more than a quick conversation about his wedding band, but maybe the starter should consider something sticky in the future. Ashcraft threw just five innings, allowing six earned runs in a 7-3 loss to the National League Central Division leader Milwaukee Brewers.

The loss marks a division-worst 42nd loss of the season. However, following Cincinnati’s abysmal 3-22 start to the season, 23-42 has never looked better.

Following the record-setting beginning to 2022, the Reds no longer possess the league’s worst record, surpassing the Oakland Athletics and Washington Nationals in recent weeks.

The race for the first pick in the 2023 MLB Draft is a contentious one with about six legitimate contenders; three of which reside in the NL Central – Chicago, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. It’s familiar territory for the clubs with Chicago’s 2016 World Series title marking the last championship between the three teams since 1990.