Boston's Lester denies doctoring ball in Game One win

Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:53pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

BOSTON (Reuters) - Controversy was in the air before Thursday's Game Two of the World Series as Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester denied allegations that he cheated in Wednesday's 8-1 win over the Cardinals in the series opener.

Cardinals minor leaguer Tyler Melling tweeted a picture of Lester appearing to rub a slimy green substance on the ball during his outing, and wondered on the social networking website whether he was using Vaseline to make his pitches harder to hit.

Lester stopped to address reporters outside the Boston dugout during warm-ups prior to Thursday's Game Two at Fenway Park against St. Louis.

"The picture does look bad, but it's resin," said Lester, who blanked the Cardinals on five hits over 7-2/3 innings while striking out eight in a masterful performance. "It's resin. In my next start, I'll do the exact same thing."

Boston manager John Farrell defended Lester during his pre-game news conference, Major League Baseball considered it a closed case while the Cardinals general manager called it "a non-issue."

"We cannot draw any conclusions from this video," an MLB spokesperson told reporters. "There were no complaints from the Cardinals and the umpires never detected anything indicating a foreign substance throughout the game."

Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "As far as I'm concerned it's a non-issue. It's something that arose in social media and not from our players or manager or our coaching staff. To me it does not represent a concern."

Farrell, who before taking the Red Sox manager's job had previously served as the team's pitching coach, said: "If you know Jon Lester, he sweats like a pig and he needs resin. And you know what, he keeps it in his glove.   Continued...

Oct 23, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester throws a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning during game one of the MLB baseball World Series at Fenway Park. Charles Krupa/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports