Cliff Lee answers 'dirty' hat accusation

NEW YORK -- Last week New York Yankees television voice Michael Kay, who also hosts a radio show on ESPN 1050, more or less accused Texas Rangers ace and ALCS Game 3 starter Cliff Lee of cheating.

Kay suggested that Lee has a "dirty" hat, that a combination of rosin buildup and the pitcher's own sweat produces a "tackiness" that makes it easier to grip the ball, thus giving Lee, 6-0 in the postseason, including two World Series wins over the Yankees last season, an advantage. "I would think that's illegal," Kay said on his radio show.

On Sunday, Lee was asked if he's ever been accused by anyone of such a crime or if an umpire has ever questioned him about the rosin residue on the bill of his cap. Lee smiled.

"It definitely makes me way better. I know that much. Without that hat, I don't know if I could do it. I don't know," Lee said, definitely with tongue planted in check. "It's rosin is what it is. I go to the rosin bag quite a bit. I touch my hat in the same place over and over. And it just accumulates."

Then Lee returned to tongue-in-cheek mode.

"I couldn't pitch without it, for sure," Lee said.