On April 10, Red Sox manager John Farrell didn’t say anything to umpires about the pine tar on Michael Pineda hand. Against the New York Yankees on Wednesday, he wasn’t going to let the Pineda get away with it twice.
In the second inning with two outs and a 1-2 count on outfielder Grady Sizemore, Farrell walked over to plate umpire Gerry Davis to alert him about the substance on Pineda. After Davis talked to Farrell, he immediately went to the mound to check Pineda. Davis found a suspicious brown mark that appeared to be pine tar, and Pineda was instantly ejected from the game.
In Pineda’s previous start against the Red Sox, a 4-1 Yankees win in the Bronx on April 10, television cameras caught Pineda with what appeared to be a sticky substance on his hand. Farrell didn’t see a picture of Pineda’s hand until the fourth inning. When Pineda came out to warm up for the fifth, his hand was completely clean.
How foolish do you have to be to use the same substance twice against your biggest rival? What makes it even worse is Pineda wasn’t even discreet about using the substance. There was no way Farrell was going to let Pineda get away with it twice.
After the game, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told the New York Post that they will deal with the consequences from Pineda’s actions.
“I think we’re all embarrassed,” said Cashman. “We as a group are embarrassed because it takes place. Michael is embarrassed. I think we’re embarrassed that somehow he took the field in a position with that like that. It’s just obviously a bad situation. It clearly forced the opponent’s hand to do something that I’m sure they didn’t want to do, but they had no choice but to do. Obviously, we’ll deal with the ramifications for that now.”
MLB rule 8.02 (b) says a pitcher may not, “have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance. For such infraction of this section (b) the penalty shall be immediate ejection from the game. In addition, the pitcher shall be suspended automatically.”
So Pineda using pine tar isn’t necessary against the rules, but Major League rule 8.02 (b) prohibits a pitcher from using a foreign substance on the ball. A lot of pitchers use some type of substance to get a better grip, but when you can blatantly see someone using an illegal substance, teams are going to say something.
“It’s one of those things; we all know everyone does it,” Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said to the Boston Globe. “There’s no doubt I’m all for it. But you just can’t do it so blatantly. John didn’t want to go out there; it puts him in a bad spot. But rules are the rules.”
Pineda came into Wednesday night’s game 2-1 with a 1.00 ERA. Now the pitcher will face some type of punishment from MLB.
The Red Sox did go on to win Wednesday’s night game 5-1 behind a great pitching performance from John Lackey. But everyone will remember April 23, 2014 as the night Pineda had pine tar on his neck.