John Farrell and the Boston Red Sox weren't going to let Michael Pineda get away with apparently doctoring the ball against them twice. In the second inning of Wednesday's game against the New York Yankees, Farrell asked umpire Gerry Davis to check Pineda's neck, which appeared to have a foreign substance — later confirmed as pine tar — slathered on it.
Aye yi yi, Michael Pineda again?
Pineda beat the Red Sox on April 10 with what appeared to be pine tar gobbed on his pitching hand. The Red Sox didn't complain then. After the game, Pineda said it was only dirt, an explanation that no one really believed but shrugged away anyway. Since the Red Sox didn't complain, the league didn't punish Pineda.
This time, things are different. Pineda was swiftly thrown out of the game after Farrell's inquiry and Davis' inspection. It was decided he had a foreign substance on his neck. Pineda will now face a suspension and become the new poster boy for this type of thing. Using pine tar on the ball clearly violates MLB's Rule 8.02, which states, "The pitcher shall not apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball." According to the rule, the corresponding suspension is 10 games.
Rules against foreign substances aren't usually enforced unless pitchers are too obvious or unless the other team complains. Pitchers are known to use a number of substances to help them get a better grip on the ball — like sunscreen and pine tar — but most hitters accept it as part of the game.
After Pineda's first incident, for example, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz said, "Everybody uses pine tar. It's not a big deal." Dustin Pedroia, meanwhile, called it a "non-issue." Keep in mind, a few of their pitchers had been involved in similar controversies recently.
Obviously this time whatever was on Pineda's neck was an issue. Until we hear post-game comments from Farrell and the Red Sox, we won't know their exact rationale for complaining in Thursday's game, but not in the previous game — especially considering the Red Sox had already scored two first-inning runs against Pineda.
It's a good bet, however, that the Red Sox weren't going to let Pineda get away with such a thing again and have the gall to be even more blatant about it.
UPDATE: Here's what both sides were saying after the game, starting with the Yankees apologies and Pineda admitting it was pine tar.
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