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The Arroyo tiff depens

The tension is rising in the controversy between the Reds and the Cardinals over whether balls used in their Wednesday win over St. Louis were intentionally left without the gritty mud used to improve pitchers' grips.

The Cardinals said they thought Arroyo had the mud rubbed on baseballs used against the Birds rubbed off to make the balls slick. Then he put pine tar on the bill of his cap to give himself extra grip while St. Louis starter John Smoltz walked five with the slippery balls.

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Reds Pitcher Bronson Arroyo with the old style cap with the grey underside of the bill pitches Sept. 24 against the Pirates. AP photo.

Arroyo said he didn't do it. While there was a splotch on the underside of the bill of his cap, he claimed it was residue from mud rubbed on baseballs at other parks. He said clubhouse attendants there cake it on so thick that he gets it all over the place, which almost seems like he is claiming that it is the home team's discretion how much mud goes on the balls.

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Reds starter Kip Wells throws a pitch Thursday against the Cardinals, wearing the current cap with black on the underside of the bill. AP photo.

St. Louis manager Tony La Russa now says that a Cincinnati clubhouse attendant approached him to say balls were fiddled with after they were rubbed up and to expect the same thing Thursday.

In the AP story below, Arroyo claims the Cardinals are no strangers to foreign substances on pitchers' caps. And he sarcastically said he would make sure that he had a brand new cap when he plays St. Louis from now on.

The funny thing is that the bill of Arroyo's cap was grey on the underside. Two years ago the major leagues went to a new cap that has a black underside. So this cap would seem to be something special that Arroyo only uses on special occasions because it is so old yet so clean... I would be interested to see what the bill of the cap her wore today, on a day off, looks like.

Here's the story from the AP about the controversy:.

CINCINNATI (AP) — Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo has denied accusations by the St. Louis Cardinals that he used pine tar to get better grips on pitches.

St. Louis manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan both told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the stain on the bill of Arroyo's cap was pine tar that helped him grip balls during a 6-1 victory Wednesday. Cardinals starter John Smoltz found balls slippery and walked five walks in four innings while allowing six runs and six hits.

Duncan said umpires assured him balls were properly rubbed. New baseballs are rubbed by clubhouse attendants with a special mud designed to give pitchers a better grip.

Arroyo said the stain on his cap is residue from mud used to rub baseballs at other ballparks.

"It's from playing in every other park where there's so much mud on the balls that that black stuff comes off on young fingers every time," Arroyo said. "I guess (Duncan) said I went to my hat time every time. Yeah, I do 8,000 other twitches. What you want me to do about it? That's how I pitch.

"I guarantee when I pitch against the Cardinals next year, I'll call over and tell Dave Duncan I'm wearing a brand new hat."

Reds manager Dusty Baker said the Cardinals have their own experience with doctored caps.

"If anybody should know, it would be Duncan," Baker said. "I remember they had Julian Tavarez over there. They threw his hat out, remember that? His hat was all messed up. It's not like it's something new."

Tavarez, then with the Cardinals, was suspended for eight days by Major League Baseball in 2004 for applying a foreign substance to balls during a game against Pittsburgh that Aug. 24.