Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz is getting tired of the controversy involving him potentially doctoring baseballs en route to his terrific start. He made it clear to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that he's moving on from all the talk.
It's getting old and I'm not going to talk about it anymore. I'm sick of talking about it. I haven't done anything wrong. I'm doing things within the rules of the game.
Buchholz, who's 6-0 with a 1.60 ERA and 1.03 WHIP through seven starts, made the comments after a report from Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports suggested 90 percent of pitchers are using a sunscreen-based mixture to improve their grip.
The report states that a brand known as BullFrog has become commonplace throughout the league. Since it goes on clear and it would be tough for Major League Baseball to rid itself of sunscreen, it's a popular choice for pitchers.
One American League pitcher said (via Passan):
Sunscreen and rosin could be used as foundation for houses. Produces a tack, glue-like substance that engineers would be jealous of.
Buchholz doesn't deny using sunscreen on the mound in the past, but he told Cafardo it wasn't to gain any type of advantage. He was just using it for its intended purpose.
I haven't used that [sunscreen] all year. I've used in the past when I need to use sunscreen on a sunny day on the mound. Is there anything wrong with that? Isn't that when you're supposed to use it?
The 28-year-old starter is coming off a down season in which he posted a 4.56 ERA and allowed opposing hitters to post a .263 batting average.
Those numbers have improved significantly this season. And when a player's numbers suddenly improve, people start paying much closer attention.
Do you believe doctoring baseballs is prevalent in MLB?
It's basically a part of the baseball culture now. Skeptics are going to emerge if a player who didn't perform well last season is now performing at an All-Star level.
That's the case for Buchholz. It's important to remember he did go 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA over 28 starts in 2010. So it's not like he's never had success in the majors before.
Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reports pitch data from Buchholz's outings this season show no major differences from previous seasons. The team and Buchholz, who says slick baseballs are an issue, both say rosin, which is legal, is the only substance being used.
If nobody has ever touched a Major League Baseball, most of the time it’s really slick for the simple fact they rub it with that mud, and when it sits in a bag all it feels is like a ball of dust. If it’s going to your mouth and wiping it off to get a grip on the ball, or going to your arm because you have rosin on your arm, or put the rosin on your arm, that’s what it’s meant for.
The league hasn't said Buchholz is breaking any rules, or even suggested they are investigating him, and the starter doesn't plan on talking about it moving forward.
Buchholz is next scheduled to take the mound Saturday against the Toronto Blue Jays. The last time he faced the AL East rivals is when the hoopla began.