BOSTON (CBS) — Clay Buchholz is off to a tremendous start for the Boston Red Sox this season, and his most recent impressive showing came at the expense of the Toronto Blue Jays. On Wednesday night, Buchholz silenced Jays bats, allowing just two hits and three walks over seven innings while striking out eight and keeping the Jays off the scoreboard.
On Thursday, some folks in Toronto are calling shenanigans.
On Twitter on Wednesday night and again on “Baseball Central” on Sportsnet in Toronto, Dirk Hayhurst questioned whether Buchholz was getting the outs on his own or whether he had the help of a foreign substance on his arm.
“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,” Hayhurst tweeted on Wednesday night.
Hayhurst guessed the substance was Crisco, and that the amount was “substantial.”
“You could see it slathered on there,” he tweeted.
Audio of Hayhurst’s accusations is available on Sportsnet’s website.
“He turns the forearm over and I’m thinking, ‘What does he have – sunscreen and rosin?’ Every pitcher does the sunscreen and rosin or a little tac or whatever. Every pitcher does it. I will stand by that – 100 percent of pitchers in baseball have some kind of foreign substance,” Hayhurst said. “But this was like Ed Harris-type stuff, where you put the Crisco right up the side of the arm. And you could see it there. To me it looked like that skin lube-type cream that every training room has. They come in different strengths of heat, and you could just say to the umpire, ‘It’s IcyHot.’
“But it looked like it was applied with a trowel knife, for God’s sakes. You could see it there, and it had discolored his arm and it had blended into his shirt sleeve. There was that much of it.
“It was the two fingers, right to it, wipe across, and that’s the dead giveaway. … Two fingers down, wipe the paint, and then go to the mouth and act like it was all part of the routine, or touch the hair or whatever.”
Hayhurst said such a substance could add two or three inches to the break of a curveball.
When told of the accusations, Buchholz denied any wrongdoing, telling Evan Drellich of MassLive.com that he applied the rosin bag to his arm. Other than that, Buchholz said the only liquids on his body are sweat and water.
Hayhurst seems to have a lot of experience in the art of doctoring baseballs, as he was called upon to pen a column for Yahoo! last year after Jose Valverde was accused of doctoring the ball. Hayhurst also has some big-league pitching experience himself, and he said in that column that his “own short career was one of doing everything I could to survive out there” and that doctoring a ball was not “even something to get upset about, even if we knew for absolute certain it was a cheating tactic.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell told the Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham that the accusations are unfounded. “It bothers me immensely when someone is going to make an accusation, and in this case cheating, because they’ve seen something on TV. He’s got rosin on his arm. I think rosin was designed to get a grip. But the fact is, he’s got it on his arm. I’ve seen some people who have brought photographs to me. They’re false, The fact is the guy’s 6-0; he’s pitched his tail off. If people are going to point to him cheating? Unfounded.”
Buchholz was named the AL Pitcher of the Month for April on Thursday. He is 6-0 with a 1.01 ERA and 0.96 WHIP through six starts this season.