Wainwright admits to using sticky substance during 2019 season

St. Louis Cardinals

ST. LOUIS – Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright admitted to using a foreign substance in six or seven games during the 2019 MLB season during Monday night’s postgame news conference following his latest outing on the mound.

The admission confirms at least part of a Sports Illustrated report that names Wainwright and other pitchers who sought the help of Brian “Bubba” Harkins to provide them with sticky stuff to doctor baseballs.

Below is the section of the SI article mentioning Wainwright.

“Bubba! This is adam wainwright. Can I give you a call?” said a text from a phone number associated with the Cardinals righty in April 2019. Five days later, a new message pinged from Wainwright’s phone: “Got it,” it said. “Thanks. Very thick stuff!” More texts came from Wainwright’s phone that June: “Hey Bubba, couple guys asking about some secret stuff. Anyway you can send a couple batches with the angels when they come?” The team was already on the road, Harkins replied, but he would mail some. Later a Venmo account labeled with the name Adam Wainwright sent Harkins $300, writing that the money was for “Kale salad and beans.” The Venmo transaction occurred the same day that a text was sent from Wainwright’s number to Harkins saying that he paid him. (Wainwright did not respond to requests for comment made through the Cardinals.)

Stephanie Apstein and Alex Prewitt, Sports Illustrated

‘Bubba’ Harkins had been an employee of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for nearly four decades and was fired during spring training in 2020. He is currently involved in a defamation lawsuit against both the Angels and Major League Baseball.

“I got nothing to hide. What Bubba said is true,” Wainwright said Monday night. “I tried it in 2019 and it didn’t work for me. I only had one order and it didn’t work for me and I gave it away very soon afterward.”

Wainwright said the substance requires pitchers to constantly go to their glove to apply the stuff to a ball, making it obvious to those who really pay attention. He said he has nothing to hide and adds that people can check his hat and glove and “watch (him) like a hawk” if they have any doubts.

“The truth shall set me free, we’ll see,” he said. “I don’t know. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t.”

Last Wednesday, during a weekly appearance on 101 ESPN’s Karraker and Smallmon show, Wainwright said he’d “experimented” with substances “a few years back” but that “it didn’t work for me.” Waino said the use of foreign substances “needs to be sent out of the game.”

Manager Mike Shildt praised Wainwright’s integrity during Monday’s postgame media scrum, and also noted that there’s a big difference between what Wainwright admitted to, along with players for decades who have used things like rosin and suntan lotion, and these manufactured substances that are out there.

“Don’t you appreciate a man of integrity?” Shildt said. “I give him so much credit. He tried it…and could easily try and alibi his way out of it in front of you and owned up to it … And I’m proud of him.”

ESPN reported that, as early as Tuesday, Major League Baseball will announce that players caught with any foreign substance will be suspended for 10 days.

As for Wainwright? No. 50 said he pitched just fine without it prior to 2019 and ever since.

“I got nothing to hide. If that gets me in trouble, then so be it,” he said.

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