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Clay Buchholz denies using sunscreen in Toronto last week

May 9, 2013, 9:45 AM EDT

Bullfrog sunscreen

Hayhurst and Morris accuse, Passan does some background reporting which, indirectly anyway, bolster the accusations. Clay Buchholz tells WEEI, however, that he did not have sunscreen on his arm last week when he faced the Jays:

“I’ve used it in the past, but that wasn’t on my arm at any time this season,” Buchholz said of the sunblock product. “Day games, you put sunscreen on. That’s what you do, you put sunscreen on.”

Not in a dome. At night.

It’s almost beside the point now. The conversation seems to have moved on from “was Buchholz doctoring the ball?” to a more general “lots of guys doctor the ball this way. Do we really care?” As evidenced by this Peter Gammons tweet this morning suggesting that hitters don’t care either. In fact, they may prefer that pitchers do use a sunscreen-rosin mix:


Seems like it’s a more sane direction to head with this conversation — what do we think about the sunscreen issue in general — as individual accusations tend to focus us on one, understandably defensive tree while missing the entire forest.

  1. Marty McKee - May 9, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    Sounds like you may be backtracking, my friend. Last week, you were convinced Hayhurst and Morris were wrong. Today, you sound like, “Well, uh, maybe they were right after all, but who cares anyway? Let’s move on. No story here.”

    • cur68 - May 9, 2013 at 10:34 AM

      Sometimes people change their positions when more information is made available. I’m in this boat. Now that information of sunscreen use is coming out, I’m wondering if Buchholtz DID’T have a foreign substance on his arm indeed.

  2. ptfu - May 9, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    This investigation needs to be dragged through the mud. Specifically, baseball’s famous secret rubbing mud. It must not be good enough, if both pitchers and hitters want hurlers to use sunscreen for a better grip.

    • hasbeen5 - May 9, 2013 at 10:18 AM

      My thoughts exactly. Why not change how they rub the baseballs?

  3. proudlycanadian - May 9, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    So what was that shiny wet stuff on his arm anyways if it wasn’t spray-on sunscreen? What ever it was, it probably works better than the sunscreen that he says he no longer uses.

  4. baseballicious - May 9, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    Can we just say that Buchholz, while he allowed 4ER against the twins, struck out 9 batters?

    *Same Twins that knocked in 15+ runs last night

  5. themagicfanguy - May 9, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    @proudlycanadian Perhaps its possible to work up a sweat while throwing a ball at almost 100mph 50-100 times in a row. Clay isn’t a cheater just because the Jays sucked that day, get over it.

  6. Ben - May 9, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    And lost in the sturm und drang is the fact that Bullfrog is ridiculously awesome sunscreen.

  7. crispybasil - May 9, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    As a Red Sox fan, I have two gut, emotional (e.g. perhaps irrational) reactions to all of this: 1. I still believe that there would be collective outrage amongst baseball reporters if a WEEI host accused Morrow or Dickey or Happ of doctoring the ball. Though, truth be told, the Boston sports media has generally earned the scorn and skepticism that are directed at it. 2. If it’s true that doctoring the ball is so widespread in the game, then I’d like to hear about other pitchers who are doing it. The intense focus on Buchholz by Hayhurst, Verducci, and Passan really skews this.

  8. paperlions - May 9, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    Using something to get a better grip is NOT doctoring the ball. The reason they never check balls when guys do this is because nothing is transferred to the ball.

  9. elmo - May 9, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    I donLt feel any great sense of moral outrage about this, I’m mostly just curious. But I’m not sure I really get Gammons’ point. How is it not cheating? It’s a foreign substance, and the pitcher uses it to improve his performance. The beanball example seems a bit extreme. Are all hitters really that pleased that opposing pitchers have better control when facing them? It seems like there’s some verbal tap-dancing going on around this topic.

  10. historiophiliac - May 9, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    I thought of this last night as I watched Benoit wipe his forehead and then work the ball extensively before he threw it. Everyone just waited for him to be ready.

    • 18thstreet - May 9, 2013 at 12:36 PM

      Pitch clock! Pitch clock!


  11. ejannetta - May 9, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    Clay is cheating in some form. The guy just isn’t as good as his numbers.

    • psousa1 - May 9, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      Yes, he is. When he hasn’t been hurting his back he has been their top pitcher for the past 4 years.

      If it’s used to get a grip – who cares. To paraphrase the tweet : if a guy is throwing 95mph rather he knows where it is going.

      He should go all Gaylord Perry in his next start. Hat, hair, belt, nose, pants and then when he delivers the pitch – a smokey puff of rosin

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