Before Wednesday’s game against the Yankees at Fenway Park, Red Sox manager John Farrell was asked if he thought New York right-hander Michael Pineda would attempt to use pine tar, as he did in his last start against the Sox on April 10 in Yankee Stadium.
“I would expect that if it’s used, it’s more discreet than the last time,” Farrell said.
Pineda did not live up to Farrell’s expectations.
TV cameras clearly showed a gob of pine tar on the right side of Pineda’s neck.
With two outs in the bottom second inning with the Sox leading by two runs, Farrell went out to talk to home plate umpire, crew chief Gerry Davis. After a brief meeting, Davis met with the other umpires on the mound to inspect Pineda’s glove, uniform, and eventually his neck. Davis lightly put a couple of fingers on Pineda’s neck, looked at them, and immediately ejected Pineda.
According to Major League Baseball rules, there is no automatic suspension with a set number of games. The Rays Joel Peralta was ejected in 2012 for having pine tar on his glove and received an eight-game suspension. There is an automatic 10-game suspension in the minor leagues. There is no mandatory penalty at the big league level. MLB will likely speak to all parties and determine a penalty.
In his previous start Pineda had a larger supply of pine tar on his hand. After TV cameras showed close-ups of it, though, it disappeared between innings.
Right-hander David Phelps replaced Pineda to face Grady Sizemore with a 1-and-2 count. Sizemore struck out, credited to Phelps.
What this means for Red Sox players remains to be seen. Last season a Blue Jays broadcaster accused Clay Buchholz of using a foreign substance on the ball.
A few former major league players weighed in on Twitter:
Former Red Sox outfielder Mike Cameron wrote:
@MaureenaMullen seriously!! What a dumb ass!!
@gabekapler @MLBONFOX I fault all his teammates for letting him go out like that
@gabekapler @MaureenaMullen @MLBONFOX true.. Especially when you’ve already been questioned!!
Former outfielder Gabe Kapler wrote:
C’mon, Pineda. This is like getting pulled over by a cop, him not giving you a ticket, & you peeling out in front of him as you drive away.
Former ML pitcher Brian Bannister wrote:
Somebody show Pineda how to use sunscreen & rosin or shaving cream…it’s clear for heaven’s sake. #Yankees