Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester 'used rosin' on glove

Tony Lee
October 25, 2013
Jon Lester said the substance on his pitching mitt was rosin © Getty Images

Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell called the flap surrounding Jon Lester and allegations that the left-hander doctored the baseball "a closed case", stressing that the pitcher had nothing more than rosin in his mitt during Game One of the World Series on Wednesday night.

"From my perspective, if you know Jon Lester, he sweats like a pig and he needs rosin," Farrell said on Thursday at Fenway Park. "And you know what, he keeps it in his glove. Other guys will keep it on their arm. Other guys will keep it on their pant leg. So that's my response to the allegations."

Lester also said he used only rosin.

"It was just rosin. All I ever used, all I will use," Lester said.

Lester told reporters that it helps with his tempo. Instead of having to step off the rubber and grab the rosin bag, he just reaches in his glove.

The controversy surfaced after St Louis Cardinals minor league pitcher Tyler Melling tweeted a picture of Lester's glove during his sparkling performance in Boston's 8-1 win.

The picture showed a patch of a yellow-green substance where the thumb and web of the glove meet. A video later surfaced that showed Lester swipe in that direction prior to a pitch.

Asked why the texture looked green, Lester said, "I don't know what that is. It looks like a giant booger [bogey]."

Before Farrell spoke on behalf of the left-hander, Major League Baseball had said there was no evidence to support the accusations.

"We cannot draw any conclusions from this video," Major League Baseball said in a statement. "There were no complaints from the Cardinals and the umpires never detected anything indicating a foreign substance throughout the game."

The Cardinals issued their own response through general manager John Mozeliak.

"As far as I'm concerned it's a non issue," Mozeliak said. "It's something that arose in social media and not from our players or manager or our coaching staff. To me it does not represent a concern."

In Melling's tweet, he wondered if the substance was Vaseline. The fact that Lester was in the process of throwing 7 2/3 scoreless innings on baseball's biggest stage turned the allegation in the tweet, which was later deleted, into a controversial topic on Thursday morning.

One of the Red Sox's all-time greats was on hand to shed light on the issue on Thursday.

"I never did any of that," Pedro Martinez said. "I know there are slippery nights and dry days where you feel more comfortable. For me, it was hot and humid. That was my comfortable day.

"Cold days were not, but for some reason I had success. I used my fastball and I could move my fastball a lot and got away with a lot. I don't think there's that much of a difference that you can make on the ball. I don't think he was doing anything, either. He was just overpowering, that's what it was."

Section 8.02 in the MLB rulebook says a pitcher "shall not apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball" and says the penalty for a violation is ejection and an automatic suspension. Farrell was surprised only at the colour of the rosin, calling it "lime green," but continued to stress it was nothing more.

"And the one thing that our umpires are very well aware of and looking for, to enforce the rules - having been Jon Lester's pitching coach - and you know what, he's got rosin that he uses, and he happens to put it inside his glove," Farrell said. "Categorically, yeah, that's what he used."

St Louis manager Mike Matheny reiterated the accusation did not come from his dugout and said he had no issue with the assertion that it was only rosin. It is not the first time this season a Red Sox starter has been accused of cheating.

Clay Buchholz drew attention from Toronto Blue Jays broadcaster Jack Morris when Morris said he saw evidence of a spitball after Buchholz's May 1 start in the Rogers Centre.

It is also not the first time in recent history that such controversy has hit the Fall Classic. Just seven years ago, Detroit Tigers' Kenny Rogers was accused of using pine tar after television shots showed him with a brown substance in the first inning of a World Series game against the Cardinals, and the substance was later removed.

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