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MLB refutes accusation about Lester made by St. Louis minor leaguer

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  October 24, 2013 11:35 AM

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A Cardinals minor leaguer has accused Jon Lester of doctoring the ball in Game 1 of the World Series.

Tyler Melling, a 25-year-old Single A pitcher, questioned on Twitter whether Lester was using Vaseline in his glove.

The web site Deadspin published the accusation and linked to a brief video produced by a Cardinals fan.

Said an MLB spokesman: “We cannot draw any conclusions from this video. There were no complaints from the Cardinals, and the umpires never detected anything indicating a foreign substance throughout the game.”

The Cardinals had 40 or so people in their dugout for the game. There also were six umpires on the field.

Lester also threw predominantly fastballs during the game. A review of pitch charts showed no pitches with unusual breaking action that a foreign substance would produce.

It is common in baseball, especially in cold weather, for pitchers to use pine tar or resin to improve their grip on the ball. This is allowed by Major League Baseball.

It also seems unlikely that Lester would put a substance that was not allowed on his glove in full view of the Cardinals, the umpires and television cameras.

Earlier this season, several Toronto broadcasters accused Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz of putting a substance on the ball. MLB dismissed that charge as lacking in credence. One of the broadcasters, former major leaguer Jack Morris, later apologized to Buchholz.

UPDATE, 12:18 p.m.: "As far as I'm concerned it's a non-issue," Cardinals GM John Mozeliak told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "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."

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