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Dennis Eckersley tells Jack Morris to ‘zip it’ over Clay Buchholz accusations

05.02.13 at 11:17 pm ET
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Dennis Eckersley

NESN analyst Dennis Eckersley took umbrage to comments by Blue Jays broadcaster Jack Morris in which the career 254-game winner suggested that Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz had been doctoring the baseball with a substance on his left forearm. During Thursday night’s broadcast on SportsNet of the Sox-Jays game, Morris reportedly expounded on comments by former Jays pitcher Dirk Hayhurst that Buchholz had used an illegal substance.

Eckersley became incensed about Morris’ accusations, noting that it would be impossible for Buchholz to command his arsenal in such dominating fashion if he were using an illegal substance on the ball.

“I was upset during the game when we found out what was happening with Jack Morris, and the more I saw it, the more I started thinking about it, it made me more and more angry about Jack Morris. To me, that’s clueless on his part,” Eckersley said on NESN. “If he knew anything about Buchholz, he knows how nasty he is. His ball doesn’t dance all over the place. The guy paints. He’s got nasty stuff. [Morris] should know that, and he’s gotten carried away. It becomes about Jack Morris almost.

“Where’s Jack Morris been all these years, anyway?” Eckersley continued. “He finally gets a job up there in Toronto and he has to make statements like that and take away from what this kid has done? I think it’s wrong. He’s pitched long enough to know. Guys, you talk about stick-’em, whatever that is, pine tar. He knows that you go to something if you’re sweaty just to get a grip. It’s all about a grip. You saw the comment — that guy [Hayhurst] backed off a little bit, saying maybe it’s rosin, maybe it’s this, but if you just watch the game, you know: the ball disappears on you.

“When you throw a spitball, the ball falls off the table, and you know it right away. The hitters didn’t complain, but Jack Morris is. I think Jack Morris should zip it,” Eckersley added. “I feel sorry for Buchholz to even have to deal with this. I’m styling here, and you’re taking away from me, a guy that can’t even make it to the Hall of Fame yet, and he’s chirping over there — zip it.”

(As it turns out, Eckersley and Morris have something of a history of contentious interaction dating to their playing days.)

During Thursday night’s broadcast, Morris also noted that Junichi Tazawa rubbed his fingers on his left forearm at one point, and raised questions about whether Tazawa was cheating.

“It looks to me like he’s got a little something on his forearm also. I don’t know if that’s anything in the slippery point — it might be some tacky stuff to get a feel, but it’s obvious that he has gone to his forearm, too,” Morris said. “Who knows? That might just be deception, too.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell, asked by reporters in Toronto about Morris’ suggestion about his reliever, was terse.

“I have really no response,” Farrell told reporters. “If comments are going to be made because pitchers pitched well, then we’ll take it as a compliment.”

Read More: Clay Buchholz, Dennis Eckersley, Jack Morris, junichi tazawa
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