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'Giant booger' or rosin? Jon Lester says he doesn't have a cold

By Scott Miller | Senior Baseball Columnist

Jon Lester says he keeps a rosin bag in his glove between starts, leading to the 'green booger' near his thumb. (USATSI)
Jon Lester says he keeps a rosin bag in his glove between starts, hence the 'giant booger' near the thumb. (USATSI)

BOSTON -- The odd green substance in his glove may look like "a giant booger" in the Zapruder-like snapshots from Game 1 videos, Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester said Thursday, but it was pure rosin. And nothing more.

"I didn't do anything," Lester said, addressing a sizable group of reporters near the Red Sox dugout during batting practice before Game 2 of the World Series. "John Farrell addressed it, Major League Baseball addressed it and the Cardinals addressed it.

"There's a rosin bag back there for a reason. That seems to be the best system for all."

Farrell said Lester "sweats like a pig" and, thus, is a regular purveyor of rosin. Lester echoed that, saying he always has sweated a lot and keeps a rosin bag in his glove between starts to lessen trips back to the bag between hitters so he can maintain his tempo.

As for why there appeared to be a big green substance on his glove from the pictures, Lester agreed that was mysterious.

"I saw the picture and I don't know why that is," Lester said. "It looks like a giant booger almost. I don't know how that came about. The lighting, I don't know how that is."

This is the second time this season a Red Sox starter has been accused of cheating. During an early May start in Toronto, Blue Jays broadcaster Jack Morris accused Clay Buchholz of throwing a spitball during a game that Buchholz thoroughly dominated. Jays radio analyst Dirk Hayhurst also said Buchholz was cheating.

Now, this with Lester.

"You can take it as something that bothers you, or you can take it as a compliment," Lester said. "Obviously, last night was not a night you wanted to use Vaseline. You want a grip on the ball. You don't want to throw it to the backstop."

Given the 50-degree temperatures for Game 1, there was every chance that a substance like Vaseline would have worsened Lester's control, not helped him.

"I know talking to our own hitters, they want to be sure that a pitcher has got a complete grip of the baseball," Farrell said. "Last night and in this series, there are pitchers on both sides that are going to be mid- to upper 90s-type velocity. If a hitter in the box has a little more comfort knowing the pitcher has a good grip, then maybe they're a little more at ease as well."

As far as the "green booger" comment, I can confirm Lester does not have a bad cold -- because I asked him.

"I did last week," Lester said, chuckling. "I don't right now.

"I wish that was the explanation for that."

So chalk up another controversy to social media -- a controversy MLB immediately shot down and pretty much ignored Thursday.

"That's the negative side of social media," Lester said. "Twitter and Facebook have a lot of positives, communicating with people, charity, and then there's something like this where I'm standing in front of you guys talking."

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