Unlike C.J., Rangers pitchers had no issues Friday with baseballs

Posted Saturday, Sep. 28, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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C.J. Wilson felt he had been rubbed the wrong way Friday night, or at the least the baseballs he used had been.

The former Texas Rangers left-hander blamed baseballs that hadn’t been rubbed down for his wild third inning in which he uncorked three wild pitches and hit two batters in the 31-pitch frame.

The Anaheim Angels starter ended up allowing only three runs in six innings, claiming he made an adjustment to account for the ball issues.

A day later, all five Rangers pitchers who worked in the game said that they had no issues gripping the balls. Others on the team showed remarkable restraint in not wading into the deep end to respond to Wilson’s claims.

“No, I didn’t have any problems,” said right-hander Alexi Ogando, who started for the Rangers and pitched in the third inning. “They were good. I don’t know what was going on with C.J. and the balls.”

Wilson, who signed a free-agent deal with the Angels after the 2011 season, told reporters that three of every four balls he used in the third were either poorly rubbed down or not rubbed down at all. The lack of grip affected him most when he tried to throw a slider.

He also intimated that it might have been by design that he had to deal with a bad batch of balls.

“Are you going to call it a coincidence?” Wilson said. “It’s not a coincidence. Let’s be honest.”

The home team is responsible for rubbing down the balls. In the Rangers’ case, a club official rubs down 12 dozen each game and gives them to the umpires to inspect. Plate umpire Mike DiMuro made the Rangers aware during the game that Wilson was complaining about the balls.

“We tried to accommodate it,” manager Ron Washington said. “I’ve been in the game since 1970. I haven’t seen a game ball until it was in the game.”

Right-hander Jason Frasor, who relieved Ogando in the sixth inning, said that he has pitched with balls that weren’t rubbed down, and it’s no fun but can be overcome. Like the rest of his teammates, he didn’t experience the same issues that Wilson said he did.

“I don’t know what his baseballs were like, but mine were fine,” Frasor said. “You’ve got to do it yourself. You’ve got to get on the ground and rub them up yourself.”

Wilson didn’t factor in the decision Friday, and is only 1-2 with a 7.36 ERA in eight career starts against his former team.

He has blamed the condition of baseballs previously in his career. After allowing a three-run homer to Prince Fielder in the 2011 All-Star Game, Wilson said the ball slipped out of his hand as he threw a cutter with a ball that had raised seams.

Wilson drew the ire of Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire that season by claiming that he had been “100 percent unlucky” to allow six runs in four-plus innings to the Twins. A month earlier, Wilson had complained about the condition of the mound during a rainy night at Target Field.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson

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