He didn’t get away with it a second time.
Yankees starter Michael Pineda was ejected from Wednesday night’s Red Sox-Yankees game with two outs in the second inning for using pine tar on the baseball. The pine tar that Pineda was applying to the ball was smudged on the right side of his neck.
John Farrell came out to let home plate umpire Gerry Davis know about the situation and after after inspecting the Yankees starter, Davis spotted the pine tar glazed on Pineda’s neck and he was tossed out of the game.
“In the second inning it looked from the dugout that there was a substance on his neck,” Farrell said after the game. “I could see it from the dugout. It was confirmed by a number of camera angles in the ballpark. And given the last time we faced him, I felt like it was a necessity to say something. I fully respect on a cold night you’re trying to get a little bit of a grip, when it’s that obvious, something’s gotta be said. Our awareness was heightened, given what we had seen in the past.”
Grady Sizemore was batting with a 1-2 count when Farrell asked Davis to check Pineda. After the Yankee righty was tossed, David Phelps came on in relief and finished off Sizemore with the third strike.
“Yeah, I [did] it by myself,” Pineda said. “…Yes, it’s pine tar… I apologize for my teammates, everybody so, I’ve learned from this mistake [it won’t] happen again.”
Pineda ejected for substance on neck pic.twitter.com/lrk4rejt21
— Steve Silva (@stevesilva) April 23, 2014
On April 10 in New York, with the Red Sox-Yankees game scoreless in Yankee Stadium, a glossy brown substance could be seen on Pineda’s pitching hand. By the time Farrell was alerted to it then, it was gone.
“A foreign substance is illegal,” Farrell said in the Bronx. “But by the time we became aware of it, it was gone.”
Pineda denied the charges in the Yankee Stadium incident.
“It’s dirt,” Pineda said. “Between the innings, I’m sweating too much [on] my hand, I’m putting dirt, I’m grasping the dirt… I’m not using pine tar.”
Before tonight’s game, Farrell sounded a bit snippy when asked about Pineda’s past suspicion of using a foreign substance.
“I would expect that if it’s used, it’s more discreet than the last time,” Farrell said.
On YES replay, Davis can be seen saying, "That's pine tar," after touching Pineda's neck. Didn't appear Pineda had anything on neck in 1st.
— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) April 23, 2014
According to rule 8.02(a)(2), (4) and (5), the pitcher shall not:
(2) expectorate on the ball, either hand or his glove;
(4) apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball; [or]
(5) deface the ball in any manner.
In June 2012, Rays reliever Joel Peralta was ejected in a game against the Nationals for having pine tar on his glove. A more famous incident took place in Oct. 2006, when Tigers lefty Kenny Rogers was caught with a brown substance on his pitching hand, across the heel of his palm.
— Maureen Mullen (@MaureenaMullen) April 24, 2014
Last May, Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz came under fire after accusations from Toronto broadcasters and former pitchers Dirk Hayhurst and Jack Morris thought Buchholz was “absolutely” cheating by putting an illegal substance on his fingers to improve his grip on the ball. Buchholz denied the charges and Morris later apologized for his comments.
Steve Silva can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @stevesilva