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Michael Pineda ejected for having illegal substance on his neck
This time, the Red Sox didn't let it slide. And Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is fine that they didn't.
"I would want my manager to do what John Farrell did,'' Cashman said after the Yankees' 5-1 loss Wednesday night at Fenway Park.
What the Red Sox manager did was something he did not do 13 days earlier: have Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda checked for an illegal substance.
Farrell did that with two outs in the second inning Wednesday, and the 25-year-old righthander was ejected by plate umpire Gerry Davis and is likely to be suspended.
"Obviously, this is not something we're proud [of] and we're certainly embarrassed,'' Cashman said. "When he took the field in the second inning, that should never have taken place.''
On April 10 at Yankee Stadium, the pitcher had the pine tar on the lower palm of his pitching hand; Wednesday night he slathered some on the right side of his neck.
After the April 10 game, in which Pineda allowed one run over six innings of a 4-1 victory, he said the substance was mud caused by profuse sweating. He came clean Wednesday night, admitting to using pine tar both times, but not for any other reason than trying to grip the ball better.
"In the first inning I didn't feel the ball,'' said Pineda, who allowed two runs in the first inning and applied the substance himself before going out for the second. "I didn't want to hit anybody, so I put it on. I want to feel the ball and make good pitches.''
Farrell, a former big-league pitcher, understands the need to grip the ball in the cold -- it was 50 degrees at first pitch, with winds gusting to 24 mph -- but wanted Pineda to be more discreet.
"Given the last time we faced him, I felt like it was a necessity to say something,'' Farrell said. "I fully respect on a cold night you're trying to get a little bit of a grip, but when it's that obvious, something has got to be said.''
The Yankees spoke to Pineda about the use of pine tar after the first outing against Boston, but the message did not take.
"I'm not sure he understood the implications,'' pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. "And I think it was more in his mind that he needed to grip the baseball . . . when it's cold out and windy, the balls are like cue balls and it makes it really tough. He's not doing anything to try to change things to try and get a hitter out. It was strictly what he said, to get a grip on the baseball.''
Joe Girardi said he was not angry with Pineda, who came in 2-1 with a 1.00 ERA, although he said several times the pitcher made "error in judgment.''
"I'm not going to get mad at him,'' Girardi said. "The kid's doing the best he can, he's trying to compete, he's trying to make pitches. I don't think he's trying to get an edge on anyone. I don't think he's doing anything to cheat.''
Pineda was in violation of Rule 8.02 (b), which states a pitcher cannot "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. In National Association Leagues, the automatic suspension shall be for 10 games.''
It is an automatic 10-game suspension in the minor leagues; Major League Baseball will make its own determination after speaking with the umpires.
Rays pitcher Joel Peralta received an eight-game suspension in 2012 for having pine tar found on his glove, baseball's last major incident involving the substance. Brendan Donnelly, a reliever with the Angels, was suspended for 10 days in 2005 having pine tar on his glove.
"I think Michael's embarrassed, I think we're embarrassed that somehow he took the field like that,'' Cashman said. "It's obviously a bad situation and clearly forced the opponent's hand to do something I'm sure they didn't want to do but had no choice what to do, and we'll deal with the ramifications of that now.''
Notes & quotes: Boston's John Lackey (3-2) allowed one run in eight innings, striking out 11 and walking none. Mike Napoli went 3-for-4 with an RBI for the Red Sox.