Arroyo responds to pine tar talk
It’s been an interesting morning in the clubhouse — far more interesting than it usually is before a day game that came after a night game.
The buzz was about comments Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan made about Bronson Arroyo’s strong 8 1/3 performance after Wednesday’s 6-1 Reds win.
“I’m sure he had pine tar on his cap,” Duncan told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He didn’t have any problem getting a grip. Balls like that can generate a lot more movement than a slick ball that hasn’t been rubbed up.”
Asked if he had seen Arroyo go to his cap, Duncan said, “Just every pitch.”
Duncan was unhappy because Cardinals starter John Smoltz complained all night about not being able to grip the balls because they were slick. Smoltz, who walked five batters and allowed six runs over four innings, repeatedly threw balls out that he didn’t like.
“I’ve been around for 40-plus years now and I’ve never seen a major-league baseball game played with balls like that,” Duncan told the newspaper.
Arroyo was not shy with his retort to the allegations, which he denied.
“The reason he’s saying that is because I’ve been using this hat all season,” Arroyo said. “That’s what happens from playing games in every other park where there is so much mud on the balls. That black stuff comes off on my fingers every day.”
Arroyo showed his cap — the bill was stained black. Before games, clubhouse attendants for the home team have the job of rubbing the balls with mud so pitchers can get better grip. Some parks have muddier balls than others.
“The funny thing is I normally switch out hats. I have two hats,” Arroyo said. “The other one is a lot cleaner. It’s starting to build up a little bit. I didn’t switch hats because it wasn’t hot enough to be really soaked and wet like in the summertime.”
As for going to his cap frequently?
“Yeah, I grabbed my [crotch]. I do this and I have 8,000 twitches,” Arroyo said. “What do you want me to do about it? That’s how I pitch.
“The next time I pitch, I guarantee that I will call over there on the phone say ‘Dave Duncan, this is Bronson. I’m putting on a brand new hat.’”
The Reds, including pitching coach Dick Pole and manager Dusty Baker, were not too amused by the Duncan allegations. Neither were previously aware of the story from last night.
“He shouldn’t make wild accusations like that,” Pole said. “If they suspected that last night, why didn’t they check him? They would find nothing. The balls [Smoltz] were throwing out looked fine to me.”
“if anybody should know, it would be Duncan,” Baker said. “I remember they had Julian Tavarez over there. They threw his hat out, remember that? His hat was all messed up. They also had a left-hander, Steve Kline. It’s not like it’s something new.”
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