Lee’s cap questioned by Yanks announcer

Cliff Lee has been untouchable in the postseason. Some wonder if he is bending rules in the process.

According to a report in the New York Daily News, a New York Yankees broadcaster publicly questioned a foreign substance visible on the hat of Texas Rangers ace Cliff Lee.

Yankees television announcer Michael Kay, who also hosts a radio show on 1050AM in New York, raised doubts to listeners about the intent of what appeared to be a resin residue on Lee’s cap while pitching against the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Division Series.

On his show Wednesday, Kay contended that the mix of sweat and resin on Lee’s hat produced a "tackiness" that helped the left-hander improve his grip on the ball. "I would think that’s illegal," Kay said. "If I’m (Yankees manager) Joe Girardi, I’m telling the umpires he (Lee) has got to wear another hat." 

When questioned, other Yankee players seemed more concerned about Lee’s filthy pitches than his filthy hat.

"I’ve noticed it before," Brett Gardner said. "It’s always there when he pitches. It’s probably resin. If it’s something else, it’s something else. He’s been doing it for a while, so he must not be doing something too illegal, because no one said anything about it.

"Cliff’s a great pitcher, I don’t think any of the success he’s had or any of the things he’s accomplished have anything to do with what’s on his hat. He hits his spots and he has pinpoint accuracy. Whatever that is, it’s probably just keeping his hand dry. I don’t worry about it."

Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland also added: "I’ve seen his hat. He tugs on his hat and he uses resin. It’s not a red flag for me."

The Yankees do have the option to request umpires to halt play to check an opposing pitcher’s cap for a foreign substance. Lee is scheduled to start Game 3 of the ALCS in New York.