Apr 7, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell in the dugout prior to a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Is Clay Buchholz Doctoring His Pitches?


In short, no. But here is the story so far:

After a brilliant outing against the cellar-dwelling Toronto Blue Jays, a pair of Jays announcers went out on a limb to accuse Clay Buchholz of doctoring his pitches. I’m sure that Jack Morris and Dirk Hayhurst are well-respected within the Toronto broadcasting community; however they may have gone too far with this one. Buchholz is putting together a Cy Young type season for Boston and was just named American League Player of the Month, yet it seems that his critics will do anything to stop him in his tracks.

May 1, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Red Sox pitcher starting Clay Buchholz (11) throws against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

As far as these accusations go, it’s a low blow by a pair of former pitchers who can’t bear to watch their team get rocked night in and night out. Buchholz has pitched himself to a league leading six wins not to mention a 1.01 ERA in six games started. But apparently both Hayhurst and Morris didn’t do their research on the lanky right-hander, as he has always been filthy, but in the good way. All the broadcasters had to do was look back to 2010 when Buchholz had 2.33 ERA in 173.2 innings pitched, good for sixth place finish in Cy Young voting.

Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley was quick to jump to the 28-year-old’s defense. Eckersley began his on air attack by calling into question the reputations of these guys, at one point calling Hayhurst a career minor league pitcher. While these reputation attacks might be well founded, they were out-of-order, but it is Eckersley’s defense of the Sox hurler that should matter. Eckersley pointed out that spitballs have wild, unpredictable movement to them, but Buchholz succeeds with pinpoint command and his ability to ‘paint’ the strike zone.

Hayhurst and Morris’ main complaint was the ‘evidence’ of some white, pasty substance on Buchholz’s arm. Both of the former big-leaguers obviously know about the presence of the rosin bag behind the mound, which is designed to afford the pitcher some grip on the baseball.  Sox Manager John Farrell similarly jumped to this conclusion in defense of his ace pitcher, stating “rosin was designed to get a grip… [Buchholz's] got it on his arm.” Buchholz himself came out in defense of his general use of the chalky powder:

Put rosin on my arm throughout the game. Sweat, water, whatever…Sometimes I put a little thing of water on my hip just to get moisture on your hands. Cause sometimes the balls that they throw to you feel like cue balls off a pool table. Got to find a way to get grip. But yeah, I mean, definitely no foreign objects or substances on my arm.

Rosin is a perfectly legal part of the game, pitchers these days may even be encouraged to use it. Unfortunately no one other than Clay Buchholz knows whether he was doing something illegal, and he maintains that he was complying with all of MLB’s rules and regulations. In today’s game there are any number of people on the field who would call a pitcher out on such use, the hitters are going to know that something is up, as is the umpiring crew and both dugouts. There simply isn’t anyway that a pitcher could get away with something like that. These accusations are unfounded and slanderous. Chances are Morris and Hayhurst are upset that Buchholz stymied the hapless Blue Jays and were looking for some excuse other than that their team was simply overpowered by an excellent young pitcher.

Tags: Boston Red Sox Clay Buchholz Toronto Blue Jays

  • Justin Jay

    Actually, only Buck Martinez, of that duo, is respected. Hayhurst was a fill-in for Pat Tabler, who had the week off.

    Another misconception. The Jays aren’t getting rocked night in and night out. Of their 19 losses, they’ve lost 4 by 4 runs or more. The rest were 3 runs or less, with 6 of them being by 1 run. They’re barely losing and other than Buehrle’s start this weekend, they’re playing better.

    And rosin isn’t generally a chalky powder, unless that chalk is yellow. It can be transparent, but it’s generally yellow or darker. In pictures, the white substance looks more slick.

    Nobody in the Toronto media is saying that Boston is cheating to win games. All they are saying is that Buchholz has a very slick looking arm and if you watch the game, he’s slapping himself all over the place with his right hand. You can’t deny that Buchholz’s arm looked slick! It doesn’t mean he was throwing a “spitball” like Hayhurst accused him… but that doesn’t mean he’s innocent of not doctoring it either.

    • Harry Burnham

      Apologies, I am not familiar with the Toronto Broadcasters, and I’m not up to date on the who’s who in the Jays’ broadcast box.

      Regarding the use of the term rocked. I simply meant that Jays’ pitchers are giving up a lot of runs. The lineup is doing an admirable job of keeping the Blue Jays in games, despite pitching performances.

      Rosin can be a variety of colors, and having both played baseball and lifted weights, I’ve seen it white, and would describe the texture as chalky and maybe tacky.

      I never denied that his arm looked slick, but a combination of water or sweat, and a rosin mixture could produce such a result as is seen in the picture.

      Clay’s never denied his use of water and rosin. He’s probably slapping himself up to clear his pitching hand of excess water that could end up on the ball. All we can hope for is that everyone is playing the game with the integrity with which it was intended.

  • Justin Jay

    I wrote about this earlier myself… http://jaysjournal.com/2013/05/03/inside-the-feud/

  • $6101468

    Always nice to leave some doubt in batters minds. Does he or doesn’t he?

    Jays would be in a better place if the starters were close to performing up to expectations.

  • Pridenpoise

    I’m not a Jays fan or a Sox fan, so there’s no bias here and I say he’s doctoring the ball, and if you can’t see it your an idiot. I have also watched three different sports programs, and they are all of the belief that he is cheating, so if you can’t comment without bias don’t write about the team you like.

    • Harry Burnham

      I dont think any name calling is necessary, especially regarding whatever you or anyone else believes in such trivial circumstances.
      I’m not sure bias has as much to do with it as one might think, Mr. Justin Jay might be of the opinion that Clay is doctoring because that’s what he saw. My belief that he wasnt has less to do with the fact that I am a Boston sports fan than it does with the fact that i genuinely dont believe he was doctoring the ball.
      The fact of the matter is that no matter how many sports programs we watch, or baseball blogs we read, there is only one person who knows what actually happened, and that number 11. And if he says he didnt do it, and none of the umpires or opposing players have called him out, then I am going to believe what he has to say about the matter.

      • Pridenpoise

        Ya because he wouldn’t lie would he. And I call them as I see them, if it walks like a duck, I think you know the rest.

        • Harry Burnham

          He probably would, but all the umpires and the opposing hitters would have called it like they saw it too… but they didnt see it. None of us can claim to KNOW whether he was doctoring, but in my opinion. he was not.

  • $6101468

    So if one does not agree with you they are an “idiot?” Wonderful! Based on that single piece of wisdom I would say your credibility is questionable.

    • Pridenpoise

      They don’t have to agree with me, but for crying out loud, are you blind watch the tape and tell me he’s not doctoring the ball. And then he says because Clay said I wasn’t doing it. Oh ok I’m pretty sure Clemens said he wasn’t getting needles jammed in his ass does he believe him as well.

      • Harry Burnham

        Brian, please try to refrain from swearing in your comments, thanks!

        • Pridenpoise

          Harry I said ASS why don’t u grow up, pretty sure you can tune in to any cable tv Show these days and here a lot worse than that. Don’t worry I won’t be commenting on this site I wouldn’t want to offend you and the three year old audience your trying to attract looserrrr!!! Thanx Harry now back to your Dr Suess Books. Don’t swear your to much.

      • $6101468

        So now I am blind? Did I even say he was not doctoring the ball? Go and look at my posts. Seems you have some personal issue such as comprehension and respect.

        • Pridenpoise

          I wouldn’t waste my time. There’s to many people that post on here that are idiots, yes I called you an idiot with thin skin. As for reading your posts I wouldn’t wipe my ass with them. Oops sorry Harry, there I go swearing again. I am just happy knowing that the Red Sox Blow and so do You.

          • Ted Gaul

            Your grammatical understanding of the English language seems about as competent as your ability to understand the right of an individual to their own opinion. Your immature choice of vocabulary (eg.”the Red Sox Blow” or “looserrrr”) tends to suggest that you have yet to graduate from reading the Dr Seuss books yourself. Perhaps we can all try to remain focused on baseball itself rather than personal assaults. For now it isn’t possible to know whether Buchholz is doctoring his pitches, but even if he is we couldn’t hold his potential misconduct against the Red Sox as a whole. It’s a good thing there are so many baseball blogs online so that we can see different opinions, biased and unbiased. It’d be a shame to lose such a variety of outlooks by offending the writers. I’m glad we all love baseball enough to take the time to comment, but let’s keep it positive and constructive. Enjoy the ongoing season!

          • Pridenpoise

            I’m willing to pit my understanding of the English language up against yours any day of the week, yes we all have different opinions, it just bothers me when homers are writing articles and they can’t do it objectively. I guess you being a homer just want to hear a biased version, and that’s ok, you keep reading these posts with your rosé coloured glasses. And hey you enjoy the season. And it seems you have no problem insulting people so get off your high horse.

          • Ted Gaul

            It makes me sad that commenters like you have access to the internet. Please stop plaguing this baseball blog with your remarks, as clearly we are all too idiotic to appreciate talented insight such as yours. Bias will always feature in writing whether we like it or not, let’s not hate on it unnecessarily.

          • Pridenpoise

            You could have stopped me from plaguing your treasured blog long ago, but you insist on replying, it shows me your childlike need to get the last word in Ted, this will be my last word, and I didn’t know you were the Internet police, for somebody who spouts off about offending people you sure do a lot of it yourself, as for your commentary I have yet to see any of the dribble you write pass for anything so I wouldn’t pass judgement on anyone else. There are plenty of places to read unbiased points of views maybe you need to expand you reading material. Please stop bothering me Ted I haven’t got time to waste on you anymore you obviously feel the need to defend the writer of this, it was probably you, get over it.

          • Ted Gaul

            Next time I’m in Hamilton I’d love to grab a coffee with you, I reckon we’d have a lot to talk about. I hope you’ve had as much fun as I have, it’s great to find people who get wound up so easily. Thanks, I’m over it.

          • Pridenpoise

            Stalk much. Don’t think we have that much in common. And it’s Burlington but don’t worry about it. Anybody that uses the word reckon in there vocabulary really wouldn’t have much to talk about with me anyways. sorry I wasn’t born in the thirty’s.

          • Ted Gaul

            *their. And I was born in 1991.

          • $6101468

            I realize you are an opinionated genius. As far as people posting that are idiots I am sure you are the measurement they use.

          • Pridenpoise

            Well I’ve read some of your crap to, don’t sell yourself short, your just as much of an idiot as the biased writer of this post.

          • $6101468

            Ah…so the troll comes out. ROTHFLMAO!

          • Pridenpoise

            “Go and look at my posts” if you don’t mean it you shouldn’t say it. How stupid are you. Oh did I hurt feelings. Hurry go think up something witty to say your such a loser, oops, another insult, I really need help. Or maybe I just know what’s typing out garbage , someone that feels the need to hide behind a name The Real Raven to embarrassed to put your name to your work I see, I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t want my name associated with it either. Have a nice day.

          • $6101468

            Are you really this type of person? Seems you have a bundle of anger and frustration. I really can’t think of an appropriate comeback except that reading your “insights” is a waste of internet ink.

          • Pridenpoise

            I noticed Buchholz didn’t have his usual great start that we’re all accustomed to, maybe with the scrutiny, and eyes watching a little closer he was playing it by the book. Well who knows just one of those things that makes you go hmmm.
            LOL

  • Harry Burnham

    Hey All,
    Just an update that no one from MLB has contacted the Red Sox regarding Clay Buchholz, his start in Toronto, or the allegations made by Hayhurst and Morris. As per Peter Abraham’s twitter:

    Of note: #RedSox have not been contacted by MLB regarding anything Clay Buchholz has done on the mound.— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) May 5, 2013

    • $6101468

      Obviously MLB is all “idiots.” LOL!

      • Pridenpoise

        No just you. You must love reading my insights, I notice u start day reading them, so for a waste of Internet ink (there’s that witty humor) look no further than your own posts, they let anybody with half a brain or thought write on this site, so I’m really not surprised the likes of your kind can be found here. As for being angry, quite the opposite it’s called amused.