Chris Perez fingers Cards pitchers

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. "He was getting an unfair advantage. If you're talking about remnants of pine tar on his glove, I don't buy into that" being a violation.

"I really don't know how (Rogers) used it. I guess you can create more spin on your breaking ball if you use enough of it. But the reason we didn't like it was because it was so 'in your face.' If he had been a little more discreet with it nothing would have ever been said."

Wainwright acknowledges at times using a mix of resin and sunscreen to enhance his grip. Just as significant, the combo applied to his pitching arm helps prevent sweat rolling onto his hand.

"There's a difference in pine tar from oil and grease, things that make the ball sink, cut or do different stuff," he said. "That's different than doctoring a ball. If one of our pitchers gets a scuff on the side of a ball he can do all kinds of things with it. An emery board or something like that is totally different.''

Manager Mike Matheny declined comment on the matter but the team is among those believing the use of substance mixed with resin to better grip the ball is widespread if not universal.

"If you're doing something to find a better grip, I don't have an issue with that," Cards pitcher Kyle Lohse said. "I don't think hitters would, either."
Carpenter maintained "every single person at some point or time has tried something" to better grip the ball.

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