SAN DIEGO -- The FOX image of an apparent foreign substance on the pitching hand of Jake Peavy after he'd throttled the Dodgers on Saturday had manager Joe Torre addressing the issue of cheating during his pregame session with the media on Sunday.
"Technology may be the worst thing that ever happened to the game," said Torre, a former broadcaster. "What are you going to do? Certainly, you keep in mind, maybe you undress him the next time, but I've never been a fan of that stuff. If it's not allowed, it should be checked. The kid has ability. Whatever was on his hand, I don't know what the substance is. It could be pine tar. We went through that with Kenny Rogers."
Torre was referring to the 2006 World Series, when cameras detected a substance on the palm of the Detroit pitcher as he faced the Cardinals. Rogers washed off whatever it was between innings, and no formal action was taken.
Dodgers history, of course, has a different tale to tell about pitchers and postseason and pine tar. Closer Jay Howell was caught with pine tar on his glove while he pitched in the rain during the 1988 playoffs against the Mets in New York. Howell was ejected by home-plate umpire Harry Wendelstedt and served a two-game suspension.
Bud Black, Peavy's manager, provided a benign explanation: dirt.
"I think what happens is, when you play baseball, your hands get dirty," said Black. "He had dirty hands. Trying to keep his palms and fingers dry, you apply rosin and dirt. Rosin is a sticky substance, and as often as he goes to the rosin bag, as often as he goes to the dirt to sop up the moisture, your hands get dirty. I don't think there is anything to it. Modern cameras can pick up a dirty hand."
Torre was noncommittal.
"To me," he said, "it's all about grip. It helps keep the fingers on the ball and allows it to spin more. You see it in cold weather. I'm not ignoring it. It's not all of a sudden a revelation. It's not that I know Jake Peavy did it. Sometimes we overlook somebody's ability. I'm not saying the rule should be broken. It's just nothing new in the game.
"Hitters will come in and say, 'Something funny's going on.' Yesterday, guys were saying the ball was disappearing, but they were saying that about [Dodgers starter Hiroki] Kuroda the other night. If I start to make a big deal -- and I'm not saying somebody should do something illegal -- it's like saying to the player, 'This is the reason we got no hits.' It's like hitting a spitball -- hit the dry side. I don't want to make excuses for not winning. I didn't suspect anything yesterday. It was the first time I've seen him pitch."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.