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Padres’ Peavy denies using pine tar on hand

Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO -- Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt was handed a picture of Jake Peavy, the image showing a dark substance on the thumb, forefinger and middle finger of the San Diego Padres ace’s extended right hand.

“Pine tar,” Honeycutt said. “Rosin’s not that dark.”

The still picture was taken from Fox’s national broadcast of the Padres’ 4-1 victory over the Dodgers on Saturday and appeared on the message board of a Dodgers fan site later that night next to one of Peavy’s hands magnified. The images didn’t appear to be doctored, as they were from part of a sequence that was included in a highlight video posted on mlb.com. Whatever was on Peavy’s hand was also visible on the video.

Peavy, who threw a complete game and limited the Dodgers to two hits, denied that he cheated to get a better grip on the baseball.

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“It’s just dirt,” said Peavy as he looked at copies of the pictures. “I pick up dirt. I mean, come on. I mean, seriously. That’s funny to me, seriously.”

He later added, “If anybody wants to check me for anything I’m doing at any time, they’re more than welcome to. I promise you that.”

Of the chance that the dark paste on Peavy’s fingers was a mix of dirt, rosin and sweat, Honeycutt said, “I’m not ruling that out as a possibility.”

Said Dodgers catcher Russell Martin: “Who knows? It’s probably dirt and sweat.”

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Dodgers Manager Joe Torre discussed the matter, but reluctantly. Shown the images in the clubhouse Sunday morning, Torre said, “No,” and quickly turned away.

The subject came up again in Torre’s pregame meeting with reporters.

“I don’t know what the substance is,” Torre said. “Sure, I’m assuming it could be pine tar, it could be dirt.”

But Torre said he had no intention of pushing for baseball to investigate Peavy.

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“To me,” Torre said, “if I start making a big deal of this -- again, I’m not saying he should be allowed to do something that’s illegal -- all of a sudden, I’m saying to my players, ‘This is the reason you didn’t get any hits.’ It’s like somebody throwing a spit ball. Well, hit the dry side. I just don’t want to fall into that finding an excuse for why we didn’t win.”

A Major League Baseball spokesman said that the commissioner’s office was aware of the existence of the photographs, but didn’t know whether it would launch an investigation. Bob Watson, baseball’s vice president of on-field operations, was forwarded the pictures via e-mail by The Times and was asked whether he would look into the matter, but never responded.

History points to the likelihood that little, if anything, will be done because the only evidence exists on videotape. Kenny Rogers of the Detroit Tigers was suspected of using pine tar in the 2006 playoffs, including the World Series, but was never punished because he was never caught in the act.

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Delwyn Young was back on the Dodgers’ bench, available to pinch-hit a day after being hit above his right eye by a line drive and being sent to a local hospital. Young never saw the ball hit by Martin, but said that he felt fine until the third inning of Saturday’s game. He felt sick and vomited, which led to a visit to a nearby hospital, where he underwent a CAT scan that was negative. . . . Jason Schmidt’s arm might be as strong as it was at any point this spring, Honeycutt said. Schmidt threw 52 pitches in the bullpen. . . . Larry Bowa, who finished serving a three-game suspension Saturday, coached third base for the Dodgers.

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dylan.hernandez@latimes.com


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