Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Perez Fingers Cards Pitchers; Notebook; but They Say There's a Big Difference between Improving Grip and Creating Movement; CARDINALS

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Perez Fingers Cards Pitchers; Notebook; but They Say There's a Big Difference between Improving Grip and Creating Movement; CARDINALS

Article excerpt

KANSAS CITY - The Cardinals have become character actors in the drama resulting from last week's ejection and suspension of Tampa Bay reliever Joel Peralta for having pine tar on his glove.

Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez, a former member of the Redbirds' bullpen, noted during a subsequent interview with XM Radio that several "older" Cardinal pitchers used various substances during his time with the club.

Perez later amended his comments to say, "It wasn't like an organizational thing." However, his comments managed to partially redirect the issue.

Several veteran Cardinals starting pitchers admitted being familiar with mixing a foreign substance with resin to better grip the ball.

"First of all, I don't know what Chris is talking about," responded Chris Carpenter, who has been with the Cardinals since 2003, including his 2005 NL Cy Young Award season. "Second, it is what it is. I understand it's in the rule book. But it's a situation that happens. There are probably a lot of pitchers in this game who need something at times to help them get a better grip.

"If you're talking about scuffing or putting Vaseline on the ball to make it move differently, that's a separate issue. But to do something to get a better grip on the ball? With guys throwing 100 miles per hour? I don't think that's cheating. Unfortunately for (Peralta), maybe they didn't like him. I don't know. Pine tar, sunscreen, whatever... it's not there to help the ball sink, cut or do funny things. It's a tool to keep it from flying out of your hands."

Major League Baseball suspended Peralta for eight games, a sentence many players believe overly harsh.

The Cardinals were parties to a potential controversy during Game 2 of the 2006 World Series when Detroit starting pitcher Kenny Rogers was spotted with noticeable smudges, apparently pine tar, on his pitching thumb.

Then-Cardinals manager Tony La Russa didn't ask umpires to check Rogers' glove but did request that Rogers clean his hand. La Russa received criticism at the time for not pressing the issue.

"If it's something like Rogers in the World Series, that was different. That was overboard," Cards pitcher Adam Wainwright said. …

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