No surprise here: New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda has been suspended 10 games by Major League Baseball for "possessing a foreign substance on his person," which is the proper way of saying he slathered pine tar all over his neck and figured nobody would notice.
Pineda was ejected from Wednesday's game between the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox after home-plate umpire Gerry Davis inspected Pineda's neck at the urging of Red Sox manager John Farrell.
Even though it's against the rules, pitchers' use of pine tar is generally accepted by hitters and managers as a part of the game. However, Pineda's use was so egregious that the Red Sox couldn't let it slide. After the game, Pineda apologized and called the incident a mistake, saying he needed a better grip because of the cold weather. Meanwhile, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman relayed the organization's embarrassment. Manager Joe Girardi said he hadn't noticed the pine tar.
Using a foreign substance is in direct violation of MLB's Rule 8.02, which states, "The pitcher shall not apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball." The rule spells out a 10-game suspension for pitchers found in violation.
Pineda, who is 2-2 with a 1.83 ERA so far this season, will effectively miss one start. Pineda, 25, was sidelined the last two seasons for the Yankees because of injury after coming over in a trade with the Seattle Mariners. He was expected to be a big part of the team's pitching staff this season, now that he was healthy.
Instead, he's turned into the poster boy for pine tar usage amongst pitchers. In an April 10 game, also against the Red Sox, he had what looked like pine tar on his pitching hand. The Red Sox didn't complain, and thus no action was taken against Pineda. He said afterward it was only dirt.
Now, he's the first pitcher since Joel Peralta in 2012 to get a suspension for using a foreign substance. Pineda could have appealed his suspension and continue to play until his appeal was heard, but he has decided to serve his suspension beginning Thursday.
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