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No spitter from Mo, MLB says

For at least a few hours on Tuesday, before Major League Baseball cleared him of any wrongdoing, Mariano Rivera found himself at the center of a modern controversy, pinned down by accusations on a fan blog and the accompanying evidence of a YouTube video. The video showed Rivera, on the mound in the 10th inning of Game 3, spitting in the general direction of his right hand, which happened to hold a baseball. The accusation, posted originally on Halosheaven.com: That Rivera, the Yankees peerless closer, had thrown a spitball.

After reviewing all available still photographs and video evidence, the commissioner's office on Tuesday found no evidence of a spitball. Baseball, too, considered the context of the accusations. Never before has Rivera been accused of doctoring a baseball. Plus, Rivera launched his loogie in clear view, with no attempt at deception; no true cheater would plot his move in plain sight.

"To me it's a dead story," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I caught Mo for four years, and I know for sure he never did anything."

Rivera entered Monday's Game 3 against the Angels with no outs and a runner on second in the bottom of the 10th. After botching a bunt play, Rivera eventually worked out of a first-and-third, no-outs jam. The alleged spitting incident occurred just after he'd warmed up, before he faced Erick Aybar.

Rivera's career has relied, famously, on one pitch -- a devious cut fastball, which he throws roughly 93 percent of the time.

"I kind of laughed," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Mo's been throwing one pitch for a long time. I happen to catch him. He was accused of throwing a spitter. The one thing about a spitter is it consistently does not go one way like Mo's ball consistently goes one way. So I kind of laughed about it."

By Chico Harlan  |  October 20, 2009; 7:26 PM ET
Categories:  Angels , Yankees  
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Comments

Notice how he glances slyly over at the bench immediately before spitting.

Posted by: Bartolo1 | October 21, 2009 7:44 AM | Report abuse

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