Each foreign substance check has different layers.
That’s why Clarke Schmidt’s near-ejection in Cincinnati last week unfolded the way it did.
The “air quality” and humidity alter rosin’s adhesiveness, Schmidt said. The level of sweat seeping through skin impacts it, too. Sometimes, the rosin becomes “really sticky.” Sometimes, it stays dry.
Schmidt told The Post before the Yankees’ game Wednesday against the Orioles that he trusts the umpires and understands why they’ve been thorough, and frequent, with checks this season. And five days removed from that start, Schmidt doesn’t expect anything to carry over into his outing Thursday.
He said he certainly doesn’t want it to happen again, either. The Yankees couldn’t afford to potentially lose another starter after Domingo German’s 10-game, sticky-stuff suspension.
“As far as affecting me mentally or anything, I would say no, but you don’t want to put your team in jeopardy,” Schmidt told The Post. “You just want to make sure you’re managing your P’s and Q’s and taking care of everything. You can’t really have small things like that happen, especially when we’re already pitching down a pitcher.”
After a season of mixed results that has generated a 6.00 ERA and with the Yankees’ rotation inching closer to full-strength, Schmidt’s room for error has narrowed.
It’ll keep narrowing until Carlos Rodon returns, which could threaten Schmidt’s presence in the rotation.
Schmidt said he doesn’t want to return to the bullpen, but if that is the only option, he said he hopes another relief role would emerge.
“If they want me to go back to that role, then obviously I’ll be willing to go back to that role,” Schmidt told The Post. “But for right now, it’s just continuing to get the starts in and continuing to put quality starts together and continuing to get better every single time out.
“So if it’s obviously in that rotation and continues to stay like this, then I’ll do that, and if it’s another various role, then I’ll do that as well.”
Schmidt underwent an “adjustment period” this season, he said, after he made 26 appearances out of the bullpen in 2022. He needed to stop attacking hitters the same way a reliever would.
The mechanics have been in a “good spot,” Schmidt added, and he has continued to integrate his cutter (thrown 22 percent of the time) into his rhythm — which during spring training he compared to “getting a new car.”
“We didn’t really know how to incorporate [the cutter] into my pitch package, or we just were using it in wrong ways early on in the season, I felt like,” Schmidt said Wednesday.
His long-term uncertainty adds an increased importance to each outing.
The sticky-stuff controversy adds some short-term drama.
After allowing seven runs in 4 ²/₃ innings against the Rays on May 14, he only allowed two across in five innings in Cincinnati last Friday.
There’s no guarantee the improvement will last through the whole season or will land him a permanent rotation spot. But if nothing else, it marked progress.