Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee vehemently denies scuffing pitches

Boston righthander Clay Buchholtz won American League Pitcher of the Month honors this past week. He's 6-0 with a 1.01 ERA in six starts this season.

Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee vehemently denies scuffing pitches

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee works the rosin bag in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Wednesday, May 1, 2013, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee works the rosin bag in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Wednesday, May 1, 2013, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Boston righthander Clay Buchholtz won American League Pitcher of the Month honors this past week. He's 6-0 with a 1.01 ERA in six starts this season.

But after throwing six shutout innings against Toronto on Wednesday, Buchholtz was accused of throwing a spitter by applying a foreign substance to the balls he was throwing to Jays hitters by former major league reliever Dirk Hayhurst and former Toronto pitcher and current broadcaster Jack Morris.

Two days later, Hayhurst threw a Phillies pitcher's name into the conversation, too. Hayhurst accused Cliff Lee of doctoring his pitches.

Hayhurst, a popular baseball author and Toronto media personality now, known as @TheGarfoose on Twitter, had this to say about Lee in his piece on the Canadian Sportsnet blog:

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"Pitchers break the law, folks. Some do it in the accepted “it’s only five miles over the limit, officer,” way. Some have big enough names that they can get away with it even when it’s plain for all to see – Cliff Lee’s hat, anyone?

Some do it recklessly and are just begging to get called out on it."

Wow. A little stunning to see someone so blatantly accused of cheating, huh? It's against the rules for a pitcher to apply a foreign substance to a baseball.

"Who's Dirk Hayhurst?" Lee told the Daily News when approached about the subject matter before taking the field for batting practice on Friday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.

After it was explained that Hayhurst was a former big leaguer-turned-author, Lee was asked about being accused of scuffing baseballs.

"That's nothing," Lee said of tugging on his hat bill in between pitches. 

"That's a completely inaccurate statement," Lee said of Hayhurst's accusation. "I'll go get you my hat right now. I've been wearing the same hat for three years. It's sweat and rosin."

Sweat, of course, builds up on hats. Pitchers are permitted to use a rosin bag, of course, since it's located behind the mound for their usage.

So unless we go CSI-Philadelphia on Lee's uniform, he's innocent until proven guility. 

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