New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda got caught with pine tar, according to an ESPN report on Thursday. He was ejected from a game against the Boston Red Sox after pitching less than two full innings. The Yankees’ general manager, Brian Cashman, seriously believes a suspension is in order for Pineda this time.
This is allegedly the second time in two weeks that Pineda has tried to pull the same stunt. On April 10, the right-handed pitcher started against the Red Sox when he appeared to use pine tar on his hand. During that suspicious act, he was not questioned about it by the Red Sox. The umpires even let it slide. When questioned about the allegation after the game, Pineda said it was only dirt – not another foreign substance that people were questioning.
After Wednesday night’s incident, Cashman said the obvious after Pineda was tossed from the pitcher’s mound by umpire Gerry Davis on Wednesday. He said, “I think we are all embarrassed.” He went on to say that this is a terrible situation, and the entire team took ownership to it. He admitted that there is obviously a failure or a breakdown when Pineda walks out of the dugout with something like that.
Pineda’s neck glistened with pine tar as he performed in the game on Wednesday, according to USA Today. The question is not as much about why he pulled the same stunt again. The question has now become an insult to baseball viewers. The question has become: just how stupid does Pineda think people are?
While the debates about how pitchers should be allowed to pitch and not be allowed to pitch goes on, the rules are quite clear concerning the Pineda incidents. Major League Baseball’s rule 8.02 clearly states that a foreign substance to a baseball is a major violation in the game. Pine tar – a sticky substance - is a foreign substance that undoubtedly has an effect on the pitcher’s delivery of the ball. The substance challenges a batter’s chance of hitting the ball more than when it is fairly delivered by a skilled pitcher.
The rules do not, however, determine the punishment for such an act. It is extremely rare that pitchers are punished at all for trying to pull such a stunt. Since it is Pineda’s second no-no in two weeks, it is believed that a suspension of some hurtful magnitude will be issued.
For the record, there have only been three suspensions in the past ten years regarding such acts. Julian Tavarez of the Cardinals tried to hide pine tar on his cap in 2004 and got a 10-day suspension. Brendan Donnelley of the Angels got an eight-game suspension in 2005 for having a foreign substance on his glove. Two years ago, Joel Peralta of the Tampa Bay Rays had pine tar on his glove and got zapped with a 12-game suspension. It is more than quite possible that Michael Pineda will be added to this short list for his pine tar violation.