October 25, 2013

Red Sox notes: Accusation against Lester doesn’t stand

Jon Lester is cleared of doctoring the ball.

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

BOSTON — Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester sweats. No one questions that.

“I don’t even like going out there and patting him on the back,” second baseman Dustin Pedroia said, “because you get all wet.”

Or as Manager John Farrell delicately put it, “he sweats like a pig.”

Farrell added, “and he needs resin.”

All the talk about Lester’s perspiration came up because of Lester’s use of resin while he pitches. He uses a lot. Instead of constantly reaching for the resin bag on the mound, Lester keeps resin in his glove to keep his hand dry. It’s within the rules.

But a minor league pitcher in the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization accused Lester of using an illegal substance to doctor the ball during Lester’s performance Wednesday night.

Tyler Melling sent out a tweet that included a photo of Lester and what appears to be a green glob substance inside his glove. “Jon Lester using a little Vaseline inside the glove tonight,” Melling wrote.

There was also a video sent out, showing Lester often reaching into his glove.

Major League Baseball investigated the charge. According to a statement from the MLB vice president of public relations, Pat Courtney, “We cannot draw any conclusions from this video. There were no complaints from the Cardinals and the umpires never detected anything indicating a foreign substance throughout the game.”

The Cardinals distanced themselves from the accusation.

“This was not instigated by us,” Manager Mike Matheny said. “You realize the ramifications of that, if we started going down that path, it would just be trying to make excuses for a pitcher having a very good game against us.

“It’s pretty much a dead issue.”

Lester said using Vaseline would have made his grip worse, not better. He simply said, “I know that not once have I cheated.”

Even a former Red Sox pitcher, Pedro Martinez, weighed in on the controversy.

“It’s not about what he had in his glove,” Martinez said, “it’s about how bad St. Louis came out to play.”

 

CLAY BUCHHOLZ is now set to start Game 4 with Jake Peavy starting Game 3. Farrell originally said he wanted to see how the Cardinals fared against John Lackey on Thursday night before making a decision.

But Buchholz has been limited by fatigue and a weakened arm. Farrell hopes an extra day off will make a difference.

“Felt like the overriding (factor) was an additional day of rest,” he said.

Farrell didn’t indicate any specific backup plans if Buchholz cannot go far into Game 4 or, in the worst-case scenario, can’t pitch at all.

“It depends on who is used the next two nights,” Farrell said before Thursday’s game. “If we have to piece it together, we’ll adjust accordingly.”

Felix Doubront and Ryan Demptser were starters during the season and could pitch multiple innings.

 

WHEN FARRELL came charging out of the dugout Wednesday night to dispute a call, he didn’t think he would win his argument.

Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma covered second base on a grounder but the throw bounced off his glove.

Still, umpire Dana DeMuth called Boston runner Dustin Pedroia out.

Farrell convinced DeMuth to confer with other umpires about the play. They did and changed the call, ruling Pedroia was safe.

“Honestly, I was a little surprised it was changed,” Farrell said. “You don’t see it that much.”

It’s a process that has evolved. In the 1999 American League Championship Series, then-manager Jimy Williams complained often that the umpires wouldn’t ask for help from their colleagues.

Now they are conferring.

“I think there is more of an acceptance to set aside your decision-making and ask if anyone saw it differently,” Farrell said. “In talking to umpires, they want the right thing to be done.”

 

PEDROIA TORE a ligament in his thumb on opening day while sliding headfirst into first base.

“I don’t think I’ll ever do that again,” Pedroia said.

Pedroia didn’t go on the disabled list but played through the injury.

“It was a little difficult,” he said. “Actually, in the end, I’m going to look back and (realize) it helped me.”

Pedroia said his swing became too long at times as he tried to hit home runs. But the injured thumb prevented that.

“This has helped me be short to the ball, making sure I go the other way and not try to pull everything,” he said.

 

NOTES: Seven members of the 2004 world championship team threw out the first pitches – Martinez, Jason Varitek, Trot Nixon, Derek Lowe, Kevin Millar, Mike Timlin and Keith Foulke. … James Taylor sang the national anthem.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:kthomas@pressherald.comTwitter: @ClearTheBases

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