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Michael Pineda ejected in second inning for pine tar on neck, facing a 10-game suspension

Apr 23, 2014, 8:13 PM EDT

pineda getty Getty Images

Yankees starter Michael Pineda was very clearly using pine tar to get a better grip on his pitches during an April 10 start against the rival Red Sox.

He tried it again in his start Wednesday night at a blustery Fenway Park and got caught red-handed.

Umpire Gerry Davis ejected Pineda in the bottom of the second inning after closely examining — even touching his finger to — a large brown streak on the big right-hander’s neck. Here’s an image of that odd scene from beat reporter Jason Mastrodonato of the Springfield Republican and


David Phelps took over for Pineda, who now faces a 10-game suspension. Including his results from Wednesday night, the 25-year-old owns a 1.83 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 19 2/3 innings this season.

We’ve discussed on this blog before how common it is for pitchers to use pine tar or sunscreen or some sort of sticky substance to help with grip on cold days. But most do it with a level of secrecy.

Former major leaguer Gabe Kapler put it nicely in this tweet Wednesday night …

156 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. aresachaela - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:58 PM

    Pineda you F’IN IDIOT!!!!!!!!!!! Why the hell have you done this!!!! This isn’t even worth against the Redsox!!! Also that trash blowing up in the 7th inning is just full of CRAP!!! Next time BoSox fans put your trash in the garbage bin alright?

    • sabatimus - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:00 PM

      I guarantee any game played in 25mph winds is going to have the same effect.

      • aresachaela - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:03 PM

        Still, that trash blowing up there is crap for us TV viewers. This is my first time seeing that happen, so it’s GYAAAAHHHH!!!! HAHAHAHA XD!!!

      • tfbuckfutter - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:34 PM

        Are you in medical distress right now?

        If you need us to call an ambulance just continue to bash the keyboard with your face.

      • aresachaela - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:38 PM

        Yes!! Call an ambulance right now tfbuckfutter!! Tell them I’m at the University of Makati right now and need medical attention STAT!!

    • rrsm53 - Apr 24, 2014 at 7:14 AM

      want some cheese with your whine B!t*h, get over yourself and your dumb pitcher, manager and pitching coach. Yankee Stadium would never have trash blow around right. Tool!

      • aresachaela - Apr 24, 2014 at 7:46 PM


  2. musketmaniac - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:06 PM

    We need a 50 game suspension just like steroids.

    • aresachaela - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:08 PM


    • Kevin S. - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:20 PM

      I agree different types of cheating should have roughly similar sentences. Of course, 50 games is just silly, ten games was always the basic standard for cheating until everybody got up on their high horse about one that’s been around for decades and hasn’t been demonstrated to be particularly effective.

      • dan1111 - Apr 24, 2014 at 1:17 AM

        Steroids have a much longer term effect than most other forms of cheating, so it makes sense that the punishment would be longer, even if you don’t think that they are inherently worse.

      • Kevin S. - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:45 AM

        The effects aren’t particularly long-term, and they take you a while to achieve them in the first place.

      • fleaman1381 - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:33 AM

        I think the penalty for steroids is higher because it’s an illegal drug outside of baseball. If I walked down the street injecting myself with steroids I could be arrested. If I walked down the street with pine tar on my neck I just look stupid.

      • Kevin S. - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:26 AM

        And yet DUIs are ignored by the league. Testing positive for recreational drugs brings a far lesser sentence than so-called PEDs. Given baseball’s reaction to other violations of the law, the illegality of steroids, amphetamines, etc. is an ex post facto justification for the severity of the punisbment associated with them. MLB couldn’t give two whiffs about the law.

      • Kevin S. - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:30 AM

        Also, there are perfectly legal supplements one can buy in GNC on the banned list. Do they carry a lesser sentence for a positive test?

    • ironmd778 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:38 PM

      What?? Dude get a grip. Not even remotely close to being the same thing.

      • mrhogan88 - Apr 24, 2014 at 1:01 AM

        Ah get a grip. That’s what Pineda was trying to do….

  3. musketmaniac - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:21 PM

    this is the same as steroids. the only difference is the O or the I.

  4. 1harrypairatesties - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:23 PM


    I want to see you go to New York & get your ass kicked with that southern smack talk. Better yet, come to Chicago & we’ll kick your ass on behalf of all New Yorkers.

    • recoveringcubsfan - Apr 24, 2014 at 7:48 AM

      On behalf of all Chicagoans, could you instead learn to use the “reply” button correctly?

  5. musketmaniac - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:24 PM

    example. One guy is putting illegal foreign substances ON his body. The other is putting illegal foreign substances IN his body. 50 GAMES or baseball is unjust.

    • ironmd778 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:39 PM

      You moron. It’s freaking pine tar. It’s to get a grip, not alter the path of the ball.

      • evanpenn - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:17 AM

        If you have a better grip, then the path of the ball is almost surely altered…just saying.

        Altered unnaturally like a Vaseline-induced sinker? no. But altered, yes.

      • granadafan - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:37 PM

        Have you ever pitched before? Throw some balls normal, then try scuffing the balls, putting vaseline or pine tar on the ball, and then see the path of the ball. Pine tar DOES alter the flight. Don’t turn off your brain and fall for the spin job by cheaters.

  6. metintodd - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:29 PM

    Obviously, the Yankees can’t win unless they’re cheating. They already have a gazillion dollars more to spend and buy a championship than any other team. Do they really need to cheat? Are they really that desperate? I wonder what Steinbrenner would think. He’d probably be firing the manager right about now.

    • aresachaela - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:31 PM

      In sports cheaters probably win but never learn, I’d rather cheat in class INSTEAD!!! HAHAHAHA XD!!

      • renaado - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:36 PM

        Heh, really? I guess I’d better tell your adviser about this then.

      • aresachaela - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:39 PM

        REN!!!! Nooooooooooooo!!

      • Reflex - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:45 PM

        You two continue to crack me up.

      • aresachaela - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:55 PM

        Bu-but………. Classes are HARD!! Especially Coll. Algebra 😦. Well nevermind Ren’s doing some catcher signs for me on what’s the answer anyways so it’s good XD!!

    • anxovies - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:10 PM

      Another moron trolling the Yankees. They don’t troll nobodies, I guess.

    • stormstrike - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:38 AM

      Okay, so the next time Buchholz or Lester or any of the other dudebros on the Red Sox use pine tar, which they do all the time, what do you think the Yankees are going to do? Stones and glass houses, buddy.

      As a Yanks fan, the two things I’m upset about are:

      1) Pineda being ridiculously blatant about it, especially in light of his last start.

      2) Joe Girardi’s endorsement by silence. If you watched the post-game press conference after Pineda’s last start, Girardi deflected every question about the pine tar with something like, “I have no opinion.” If you’re going to take that route, and refuse to even provide a general denial or condemnation, then don’t be surprised when even your own players view it as a tacit endorsement.

      • belichickrulz - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:13 AM

        I’m a Red Sox fan, and I agree with you 100%. If any Sox pitcher is as blatant as Pineda, he should get tossed too. Cheating is cheating and I’m against it whether it’s done by the hated Yankees or the Sox.

    • lonnie49 - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:54 AM

      You do realize that Big Papi uses PED’s, don’t you?

      • dan1111 - Apr 24, 2014 at 1:22 AM

        Sigh. One person claimed that Ortiz allegedly tested positive for an unknown banned substance over ten years ago. That’s the sum total of the evidence that “Big Papi uses PEDs”.

      • stormstrike - Apr 24, 2014 at 1:50 AM

        “Sigh. One person claimed that Ortiz allegedly tested positive for an unknown banned substance over ten years ago. That’s the sum total of the evidence that “Big Papi uses PEDs”.”

        No, he was on a list of people who failed a drug test, the same list that Alex Rodriguez was on.

        The big difference is that A-Rod admitted he used, while Ortiz made up some BS and then refused to acknowledge that he was on that list. Ortiz’s excuse was no different than the many, many lame excuses offered by other athletes who have failed drug tests.

        Essentially, Ortiz was caught during a time when MLB was still worried about public image, and so that report was buried. No one disputes the fact that the report existed. And then we see him at 38 years old with an amazing career revival with his bat speed restored, posting a .959 OPS and slugging .706 in the postseason. Can you tell me how many players in the history of the MLB, aside from known PED abusers, have had that kind of career revival?

      • stormstrike - Apr 24, 2014 at 1:54 AM

        And just in case you need a refresher, here’s the ugly truth:

        In 2003, Ortiz gives an interview saying people caught with PEDs should be suspended for an entire season. When Ortiz was identified on that list of 100 players who tested positive, Ortiz told the media: “I’m not talking about that anymore.”

        Ten days later, Ortiz held a press conference and blamed his positive result on supplements. Reporters asked him what supplements he was taking. He said he didn’t know. That list was subsequently sealed under court order.

        Are you gonna tell us that Ortiz’s supplement excuse, which has been used by everyone from Marion Jones to Ryan Braun and Lance Armstrong, is a legitimate and believable excuse?

      • dan1111 - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:12 AM

        @stormstrike, the list has not been made public. Ortiz was on that list according to an anonymous source cited by the NY Times. Hence, it is on the basis of an individual’s claim, as I stated.

        Furthermore, testing included some substances that were not even banned in baseball at the time. Also, given that it was an exploratory test, the standards for testing positive might not have been as rigorous as would be required for an official test–calibrating these tests is difficult, and they never answer yes or no with 100% accuracy. A test on which punishment will be based errs on the side of caution, and repeat tests are conducted. The same would not be true of an exploratory test.

        Ultimately, do I think Ortiz used PEDs in 2003? More likely than not. And if so, his comments were hypocritical. But there is far from conclusive proof that he was using even back then, never mind that he is using in 2014.

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:00 AM

        Ortiz acknowledged that the Union confirmed that he was on the list of failed tests from 2003. He then claimed to have no idea why he failed the test and vowed to conduct an investigation and get back to the media with his findings. So far, he hasn’t given any information about the supposed investigation.

      • abaird2012 - Apr 24, 2014 at 10:29 AM

        And OJ never found the real killer …

      • stormstrike - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:31 PM


        Wrong. The report was confirmed by the players union and by Ortiz himself. And the report in the NYT quoted multiple attorneys who were part of the legal wrangling and had seen the report first hand. Again, that’s the New York Times quoting multiple sources, not the terribads at ESPN quoting Skip Bayless. Huge difference.

      • Kevin S. - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:45 PM

        Do you think even the other talking heads at ESPN pay attention to Skip Bayless? I mean, we’re talking about the man who makes Stephen A. Smith look reasonable on a daily basis.

  7. Hugh Jass - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:53 PM

    Even without roids or pinetar, the Yankees are more than capable of pounding your sorry team

    • dan1111 - Apr 24, 2014 at 1:22 AM

      Except they didn’t.

      • lukedunphysscienceproject - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:59 AM

        Except they did the night before and lead the season series 4-2

      • dan1111 - Apr 24, 2014 at 10:24 AM

        @luke, how many of those wins were “without roids or pinetar”? And no guessing…I want proof! :)

  8. anxovies - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:12 PM

    I saw an interview of Pineda during Spring Training and my impression was that he was no rocket scientist. I guess I was correct.

  9. hammertoe11 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:17 PM

    George Brett, has a new pine tar buddy and his name is Michael Pineda. Both are going into the Pine Tar Hall of Fame. LMAO

  10. ewaltersjr - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:31 PM

    As much money as they have and as many games as they have won over the years and now all of a sudden there is all these NYY getting busted in one form or another.
    I say suspend him for the season. It doesn’t matter if it’s in you or on you it’s still cheating and I wonder how many decades this super team has honored this among their pitchers, it seems this past year has not been good at getting over.
    Sure they all cheat a little but NYY make it a skill and bodly do it anymore like you won’t touch me. That’s another reason it should be swift and hard.
    Come back next season and no pay so get a job if it hurts.

    • stormstrike - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:46 AM

      So Michael Pineda should be suspended for a season, and Alex Rodriguez should be suspended for a season, but multiple PED test failer Ryan Braun is still playing, David Ortiz gets to deny he ever took PEDs despite a positive drug test (which is more than MLB ever had on Rodriguez), and that PoS Jhonny Peralta gets to double his salary after getting caught with PEDs.

      Hate for the Yankees had clouded your judgment, my friend.

      • bbk1000 - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:14 AM

        A-Rod and Ortiz failed the same test…..

      • rrsm53 - Apr 24, 2014 at 7:23 AM

        Braun excepted his penalty like a man, even though he was a douche the first time around. AROD who is the biggest douche to ever play the game still maintains he didnt do it. There is a difference, so Braun gets to play and AFRAUD is playing with himself.

        YOu guys want to bring up Ortiz, he failed a test supposedly confirmed by an unamed source. He has played and done very well. They have tested him and no issues have come up. Now because he is still hitting well he is hiding PED use.

        Bottom line Pineda was warned, his manager knew about it, the pitching coach knew about it. They have to be blind not to see it on his neck i could see it on TV, he will miss one start with his suspension get over it, when he starts getting smacked around cause he can’t use pine tar his find another way to help him out.

      • Kevin S. - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:13 AM

        If A-Rod had “just taken his penalty,” he still wouldn’t be playing right now. The last time MLB offered him anything that would have ended in 2013 was before they coerced the judicial system into allowing them to use a lawsuit against a cooperating defendant to subpoena third-party records.

    • dan1111 - Apr 24, 2014 at 1:24 AM

      If anyone gets caught speeding, the perpetrator should be thrown in jail for life. After all, it’s just like murder–both involve breaking the law.

  11. sdeberg - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:35 PM

    What the f— were you thinking? Or, better question, what the f— was Joe Girardi thinking? You’re a starting pitcher. You’re in MLB. AND, you’re a Yankee. Not quite so complicated – DON’T F—ING CHEAT. Blame should be equal – between the player (idiot) and the manager (bigger idiot).

  12. fanofthegame1 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:44 PM

    I think everyone is over-reacting here, but it was pretty bad that he did not try to hide it better. Comparing it to steroids is delusional, it does not make you throw it faster.

    With that said, I wish they would ban it and get it out of game. There is no need for pitchers to have to use it for any reason. There is no need for hitters to use it. Why can’t they just play the game naturally? I understand it help control, but you shouldn’t need substances to do that, that is what you are suppose to do naturally.

    • beermakers - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:36 AM

      I don’t mind pine tar, it helps batters keep losing bats into the crowds more frequently.

      Comparing steroids and this is apples and oranges. People are trying to say cheating is cheating.

      What bugs me is, I feel like commenters that have wanted to crucify Braun and will never move forward from his mistakes, but will just look at Pineda and his antics as “cute”.

    • granadafan - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:55 PM

      Pine tar doesn’t help you throw the ball faster, but it does alter the pitch. That’s just as cheating as steroids.

  13. southernballhawk1 - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:50 AM

    classic Yankees move!

  14. mikhelb - Apr 24, 2014 at 1:41 AM

    What causes me a bit of trouble in all this mess is Farrell saying that he is OK if pitchers use foreign substances as long as they hide it (apparently Leiter on YES said Lackey also had a foreign substance in his wrist and was using it).

    Farrell is advocating the use of a foreign substance as long as you are not catched using it (the Bluejays were accused of stealing signals with BJays personnel relying signals from CF, Farrel was their manager).

    On the other hand, Yankees pitching coach said he is against using anything illegal, and they had a talk with Pineda already after that april 10 game vs the Redsox, he said “do you wan’t me to teach a pitcher how to cheat and not get caught? No, I won’t do that”, and was caught reprimanding Pineda by an ESPN camera that Girardi later blocked to get a bit of privacy in the zone leading to the lockers.

    To me it is odd that the rival manager advocates the use of foreign substances while Pineda’s manager and coach threw him under the bus, asking MLB to punish him.

    On the other hand, McCann was interviewed an said that he did not notice it but that it is something he does not condones and is against the use of foreign substances and rightfully so, Pineda was ejected.

    • nbjays - Apr 24, 2014 at 7:48 AM

      First off, the Jays were “accused” of relaying signs… and that’s all it was, an accusation about the “guy in the white shirt” for which no proof was ever found so that is baseless.

      Second, unless the Yankees are blind, they knew all about Pineda’s pine tar on his hand during the April 10th game. It was all over the sports media so they couldn’t have missed it. Did Girardi and Rothschild read Pineda the riot act and tell him it wasn’t the “Yankee way”? If they did, which I somehow doubt, then Pineda is an idiot. However, if John Farrell can see the pine tar on Pineda’s neck from the other dugout, do you think Girardi and Rothschild (and Sheriff McCann) didn’t see it in their own dugout? Their silence on it, as well as Girardi’s “no comment” after the last incident read like tacit approval to me. They aren’t upset he was doing it, they are upset he was stupid enough to be so blatant about it, especially in light of the last incident.

      And, as someone said, this 10-game suspension will translate to one or two (at most) starts, which is total and utter bullcrap. If a regular position player is suspended for 10 games, his team loses him for 10 games that he would otherwise have played in. I think pitchers should be the same… miss that number of games you normally would have played in. If it was that was, I’d think 5 would be sufficient, but it should be 5 starts.

      And this is not an anti-Yankee thing. I bring up this same point whenever any pitcher is suspended for utter stupidity (pine tar, headhunting, whatever). Pitcher suspensions are a joke.

      • yashraba - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:21 AM

        a starting pitcher losing 2 starts in a season is equal to losing approximately 6% of their season. A position player losing 10 games is equal to losing just about 6% of their season. I’d say its pretty even.

      • nbjays - Apr 24, 2014 at 10:49 AM

        Fine, then change starting pitcher suspensions to be x number of starts, not games. That way the rotation can’t be gerrymandered to minimize that number, like it is now.

      • Kevin S. - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:26 AM

        The team responds by scheduling the pitcher to start the next three games. Oh, suspension over. I think they have to adjust the suspensions so that gerrymandering still causes the pitcher to miss the desired number of starts.

  15. bigjimatch - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:25 AM

    The Yankees are the Patriots of baseball… 27* world series.

    • chunkala - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:42 AM

      LuckSox are Patriots of baseball, all roid fueled championships.
      Are you claiming that NYY did roads in the 20s or used illegally obtained videotape to defeat NL teams?
      It’s Thursday which jersey do you wear to work today – Celtics, Bruins, Patriots, or Sox?

      • Kevin S. - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:55 AM

        You aren’t helping.

      • dan1111 - Apr 24, 2014 at 10:26 AM

        I think the Yankees of the 20s totally did roads. That’s why they were known for their road rage.

  16. jm91rs - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:24 AM

    When is the next election for Top Baseball Cop? I’m worried McCann’s tenure is tainted now.

  17. chunkala - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    Q: Was Pined a cheating?
    A: No, probably not.

    Q: Is he allowed to use pine tar?
    A: No, because even though he’s using it to get a better grip he can’t prove that he’s not using it to gain advantage against the batter by doctoring the ball.

    Q: Is having goopey wet hair and wearing sunscreen in an indoor stadium allowed?
    A: Yes, according to Red Sox fans.

    Definitely the most hypocritical fan base out there. Buchhy can wear sunscreen indoors and lather himself up and Lester can have green goop and/or pine tar in his glove and both are okay but Pineda of the Yankees does the something and its suddenly wrong?

    From Webster’s Dictionary:
    Hypocrisy is the practice of engaging in the same behavior or activity for which one criticizes another.

    • nbjays - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:55 AM

      And the definition of stupidity is being caught doing something illegal, getting let off with it, and then doing the same thing even more blatantly.

    • unclemosesgreen - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:53 PM

      1) – totally wrong
      2) – correct, but contradictory to your answer for 1) – are you drunk??
      3) – Idiotic

      You are walking, typing proof that a vast majority of stupid people don’t know that they’re stupid. Throwing in a dictionary definition does nothing to bolster your nonexistent point.

  18. scyankee64 - Apr 24, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    Lester is probably not pleased. He’ll be getting extra scrutiny because of this.

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