Clay Buchholz Accused of Doctoring Ball by TV Analyst

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2013

Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz was named the American League's Pitcher of the Month for April on Thursday, but accusations have arisen that his Cy Young-worthy start might not be coming cleanly.

Dirk Hayhurst of Sportsnet has accused Buchholz of doctoring the baseball in Boston's 10-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday:

Hayhurst followed up his initial accusation by providing a picture of Buchholz’s supposed malfeasance on Twitter:

Buchholz, who is 6-0 with a 1.01 ERA for the season, went seven innings without giving up a run against a Blue Jays lineup that some considered the American League’s best in spring training. He fanned eight batters and allowed two hits in Toronto as the Blue Jays looked rudderless against him.

It’s been a fate shared by many across Major League Baseball this season. Buchholz has allowed no more than two runs in any of his six starts and his 47 strikeouts are tied for fourth in baseball. 

If Hayhurst’s accusations hold any truth, though, Buchholz’s accomplishments could be called into question—and punishment could be forthcoming. There is no word on whether Major League Baseball has looked into the incident or has any plans of doing so. 

The 28-year-old right-hander has not responded to Hayhurst's accusations—though he did laugh when asked about it—but his manager, John Farrell, categorically denied Buchholz was doctoring balls, per Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe

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

Farrell’s understandable frustrations aside, all eyes will be planted on Buchholz going forward—even without an investigation. Buchholz has been one of the leading cogs in Boston’s surprising 19-8 start, which has the Red Sox a full two games ahead of the New York Yankees in the American League East entering Thursday night.

Though Abraham notes that no one has asked to check one of Buchholz’s balls in any of his six starts, Hayhurst’s accusation will shift the focus from the pitches coming out of his right arm to what could be lurking underneath.