Broadcasters accuse Sox pitchers of cheating
Claim Buchholz, Tazawa were using illegal substances, doctoring balls
TORONTO -- Clay Buchholz was not the only Red Sox pitcher accused of using foreign substances by Rogers Sportsnet's analysts during Boston's road series against the Blue Jays.
On the radio and TV home of the Blue Jays, color commentators Dirk Hayhurst and Jack Morris accused Buchholz of applying something illegal on his forearm and doctoring the ball in his start Wednesday, then the same critical comments were made about reliever Junichi Tazawa on Thursday.
"Well, it looks to me like he's got a little something on his forearm, also," Morris said during the telecast of Boston's 3-1 victory. "I don't know as though that's anything in the slippery point. It might be some tacky stuff to get a feel, but it's obvious that he has gone to his forearm, too. Who knows? That might just be deception, too. A lot of time you have perspiration you're going to go to that just to mess with hitters."
In an interview with ESPN.com, Morris alleged Buchholz was throwing a spitball in Boston's 10-1 victory Wednesday night.
"I found out because the guys on the video camera showed it to me right after the game," Morris said. "I didn't see it during the game. They showed it to me and said, 'What do you think of this?' and I said, 'Well, he's throwing a spitter. Cause that's what it is."
Another accusation made against Tazawa came from Blue Jays radio broadcaster Mike Wilner, who tweeted that he saw something on Tazawa's arm during the game that he thought appeared fishy.
Tazawa declined to comment, but at least one Red Sox player was not pleased to hear that the accusations continued into Thursday night.
"I saw [J.A.] Happ all night going to his forearm. Is he doing something?" Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said about Toronto's starter. "For them to point out one guy or two guys, I don't think that's right."
Red Sox manager John Farrell was visibly upset when first talking about the alleged doctoring before Thursday's game. When asked about the new revelations postgame, the skipper brushed aside the remarks.
"Really no response," Farrell said. "If comments are going to be made because pitchers pitch well, then we'll take it as a compliment."
His pregame comments to reporters, however, were much more pointed.
"It bothers me immensely," Farrell said. "When someone is going to make an accusation, and in this case, on cheating because of something they have seen on TV -- he has rosin on his arm," Farrell said. "I think rosin was designed to get a grip. The fact is that he has rosin on his arm.
"I've seen some people that have brought photographs to me, they are false. The fact is the guy is 6-0, he has pitched his tail off and people are going to point to him cheating? Unfounded."
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons did not see anything suspicious during the three-game set in Toronto and didn't appear to be overly concerned about it, either. Neither was third baseman Brett Lawrie, who said, "I'm not really watching that. I can't really comment on that. It's not my position to."
Even if there was cheating taking place, Gibbons said, Buchholz and Tazawa wouldn't be the first pitchers to do so.
"No, and if he was, that's not why we lost the game," Gibbons said when asked if he noticed anything. "That has been going on in baseball probably since the game started. You get caught, you get caught. ... I don't think it's anything unusual, but that didn't have any effect on tonight's game. Whether he was doing it or not, I don't know."
Hayhurst, a former Major League pitcher, put out a series of tweets accusing the right-hander of applying a foreign substance to his arm and in his hair during the game. He then reiterated those comments on Thursday during his morning radio show "Baseball Central," which airs on The Fan 590.
Forget the hair, I just saw video of Buchholz loading the ball with some Eddie Harris worthy slick'em painted up his left forearm. Wow.- Dirk Hayhurst (@TheGarfoose) May 2, 2013
Buchholz, who is 6-0 with 1.01 ERA, said he applies rosin to his arm and didn't appear bothered by the allegations, stressing that they are blatantly false. He responded to the accusations on Thursday after being named the American League Pitcher of the Month.
"I put a little bit of water on my hip just to get it a little moist, because sometimes the balls they throw to you feel like cue balls off a pool table," said Buchholz, who allowed Toronto just two hits and fanned eight batters over seven shutout frames on Wednesday night. "You have to find a way to get grip. Definitely no foreign objects or substances on my arm.
"I'm not doing anything wrong, so if I have to answer questions about it, that's the world we live in."
Saltalamacchia said rosin is the only thing he has ever seen Buchholz put on his arm and that many pitchers do the same thing to help with grip and control.
"It's not like the guys are out there with a nail file, cutting the ball and then throwing it," Saltalamacchia said. "If that's what they want to worry about, that's fine. That's not our focus."
The 28-year-old Buchholz added that anything in his hair was either sweat or water and said he has never been accused of cheating before. Buchholz went on to say that he usually pours a bottle of water on his head after every inning.
Buchholz laughed it off and said if he had thrown two innings, opposed to the seven scoreless frames of two-hit ball he hurled, that this probably wouldn't be a story.
"That's water. You can look at as much video as you want," Buchholz said.
David Ross, who caught Buchholz on Wednesday, said the righty is "clean as a whistle."
"No," Ross said when asked if Buchholz was using any illegal substances. "Clay throws out a lot of balls that get scuffed and stuff. He threw out I think three last night on choppers that were hit. They had big scuffs on 'em. If you want a little extra movement, I don't think that's what -- people always look for, somebody has success, they want to blame something."
Chris Toman is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.