Fired Angels employee says Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander and others used his illegal pitching substance

Chris Cwik
·2 min read

Former Los Angeles Angels employee Brian “Bubba” Harkins is naming names. Harkins, who was fired by the Angels last March, said in court papers Thursday that multiple Cy Young winners and All-Star pitchers used an illegal pitching substance distributed by Harkins, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.

Harkins named a number of former and current Angels players, “including Troy Percival, Brendan Donnelly, Tyler Chatwood, Kevin Jepsen and, most recently, Cam Bedrosian, Keynan Middleton, Yusmeiro Petit, Luke Bard, Matt Andriese, Dylan Peters, Jose Suarez and Dylan Bundy,” according to the Times.

On top of that, Harkins said he has evidence suggesting Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, Adam Wainwright, Corey Kluber and Felix Hernandez all used an illegal pitching substance to improve their grip on the ball. Evidence surrounding Cole is particularly damning, as a text message in which Cole identifies himself and asks Harkins for help “with this sticky situation” was included in the evidence submitted Thursday.

Brian Harkins was fired by Angels for distributing illegal substance

Harkins, 55, was fired by the Angels last March after it was determined he was making and distributing an illegal pitching substance to visiting players. Harkins was a member of the Angels for nearly four decades before he was fired by the team.

In response, Harkins filed a defamation lawsuit against the Angels and MLB in August. Harkins — who spoke to MLB attorneys in March as part of an investigation into foreign substances — believes the Angels tried to protect their players and the league didn’t want to deal with another scandal following the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal. Because of that, Harkins believes he was fired so he could be the “public scapegoat” for foreign substances.

Harkins’ attorney said he will seek at least $4 million if the case goes to trial. A judge is expected to make a ruling on whether Harkins’ case can proceed Jan. 21.

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