Cardinals’ McRae says Rogers scuffed
By Tuesday, Kenny Rogers, St. Louis Manager Tony La Russa and the umpires had all offered their explanations as to how the yellowy-brown substance had stuck to the Detroit left-hander’s thumb and how it was removed.
The World Series was prepared to move on, at least until Rogers’ next start, which is scheduled for Game 6, until Cardinals hitting coach Hal McRae jumped in with further indictment of the Tigers left-hander.
McRae told USA Today the Cardinals had gathered at least five balls from Rogers’ Sunday night start that were similarly scuffed.
“He wasn’t just cheating by using pine tar; he was scuffing balls too,” McRae told the newspaper. “He had to be using his fingernails or something.”
Despite the new accusations, McRae, La Russa and Cardinals General Manager Walt Jocketty declined substantial comment, other than to say they weren’t commenting. It does not appear the Cardinals intend to forward the allegedly scuffed baseballs to Major League Baseball, and it is possible McRae went public in an attempt to deter Rogers from any future ball tampering.
Approached by reporters asking for clarification as he emerged from the Cardinals’ dugout for batting practice, McRae smiled and said, “No, no, no, no. It’s the World Series, guys.”
Said La Russa: “My conversation on that is going to be zero.... I’m not involved with it anymore, and I don’t want our club to be.”
Said Jocketty: “We’re done talking about it.”
Reminded that it was his hitting coach who furthered the controversy, Jocketty held his hands up and snapped, “We’re done. The club is done talking about it.”
Jocketty then strolled over to a television reporter and discussed the situation at length, off the air.
There was further clarification of some of the events Sunday night.
According to umpire supervisor Steve Palermo, the umpires were alerted of the substance on Rogers’ hand by Cardinals players in the field, not by La Russa, in the bottom of the first inning.
Plate umpire Alfonso Marquez spoke to Rogers after the top of the second inning. By then, Rogers already had cleaned his hand, though there remained some residue of the substance. Marquez ordered him to remove the rest.
At that time, according to Palermo, crew chief Randy Marsh beckoned La Russa to an area near first base, where the two had their first conversation about Rogers.
New York Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado was named winner of the 2006 Roberto Clemente Award. Delgado, like Clemente, is from Puerto Rico. “I say when I grow up I want to be like that,” he said. “And that’s why this award is so special.” ... Cardinals right-hander Jeff Suppan will oppose Tigers right-hander Jeremy Bonderman in tonight’s Game 4. Bonderman, asked to name the best-hitting pitcher among the Tigers: “I don’t know. Maybe Kenny, I guess. He’s got a hit. So is Nate [Robertson]. I don’t know. I wouldn’t say they’re very good.”