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Gerrit Cole named in ball-doctoring case by fired Angels clubhouse attendant

Gerrit Cole has been named, among other pitchers, in a ball-doctoring case by former Los Angeles Angels clubhouse attendant Brian Harkins, who was fired last March after the team was informed by MLB that he was providing pitchers with an illegal blend of rosin and pine tar, ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez reported early Friday morning.

Additionally, a text from Cole, while he was still a member of the Houston Astros, has been submitted as evidence to prove that Harkins is being used as a scapegoat and that he was fired without proper warning.

“Hey Bubba, it’s Gerrit Cole,” the text dated Jan 17. 2019 reads. “I was wondering if you could help me out with this sticky situation [winky face emoji]. We don’t see you until May, but we have some road games in April that are in cold weather places. The stuff I had last year seizes up when it gets cold …”

Harkins is known around the league as “Bubba” and had been in the Angels organization since 1981, when he joined the team as a bat boy. Since 1990 until the day he was fired last March, Harkins was their visiting clubhouse manager.

Applying rosin and pine tar on baseballs by pitchers has been a long-held, accepted practice, and the rules against it have never been strictly enforced.

In addition to Cole, Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson, Max Scherzer, Felix Hernandez, Corey Kluber and Adam Wainwright were among the other pitchers named by Harkins when he first met with attorneys from MLB and the Angels for the first time last March.

Harkins’ attorneys originally filed suit against the Angels and MLB in late August, and the defendants filed a motion to dismiss it in early November. A Jan. 21 hearing has been scheduled to determine whether the case will move forward.