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Michael Pineda suspended 10 games for “foreign substance”

Apr 24, 2014, 3:13 PM EDT

As expected, Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda has been suspended 10 games by MLB after being ejected from last night’s start against the Red Sox for “possessing a foreign substance on his person.”

Or, put another way: For being super obvious about having a bunch of pine tar on his neck.

Because of the way the Yankees’ rotation and schedule sets up, they should be able to get by with Pineda missing only one actual start during the 10-game suspension. And it’s also possible that he could appeal and perhaps have the suspension reduced.

Craig Calcaterra argues that the lack of outrage from fans and media members seems very inconsistent in Pineda’s case, especially relative to the reaction to other forms of cheating in baseball, whereas Joe Posnanski suggests that The Obviousness Factor plays a big part. Either way, he’ll miss one start and all eyes will be on Pineda when he takes the mound again in a couple weeks.

  1. 18thstreet - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    Good test of the depth of that pitching staff. But given that Pineda is (I’d guess) on an innings limit this year, the two-start suspension probably doesn’t change all that much for the Yankees. Someone was going to have to start in his place eventually. This just changes the dates for those starts.

  2. jeffbbf - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    “Craig Calcaterra argues that the lack of outrage from fans and media members seems very inconsistent in Pineda’s case, especially relative to the reaction to other forms of cheating in baseball”

    Really, what are the fans supposed to do? Storm the gates with pitchforks and flaming torches? Craig should not speak on behalf of the fans. He doesn’t have their pulse. Just because fans that read his blog (and have grown weary of his constant posts about how baseball sucks) haven’t responded en masse to his opinion that MLB isn’t handling this situation correctly (gee, there’s a change in stance), doesn’t mean the fans aren’t outraged. Personally, I think they are outraged because the act was so blatant, more than the act itself. The thought being “does he think we’re *that* stupid”?

    • grumpyoleman - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:28 PM

      They suspended him for 10 games, what more should we want?

      • 18thstreet - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:34 PM

        I want the team to be punished, too. This, I believe:

        (a) When a player gets suspended, the team should lose the roster spot for the length of the suspension, and
        (b) When a player gets suspended, the team should be forced to donate whatever money is saved to a non-MLB affiliated charity, such as Stand Up to Cancer.

      • paperlions - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:40 PM

        Well, for one, he obviously shouldn’t be available for post season play during a season in which he has been suspended for cheating.

      • grumpyoleman - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:46 PM

        So a guy that cheats and doesn’t touch first base and is caught shouldn’t get to play in postseason either

      • crpls - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:52 PM

        Unless something has changed, the team does lose the roster spot for the length of the suspension.

        I thought it was only with PED suspensions they got to replace them.

      • paperlions - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:31 PM

        teams have never lost a roster spot when a player was suspended.

      • jwbiii - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:35 PM

        No. Players who are suspended are placed on the restricted list and teams can replace them. Franklin Gutierrez and Ryan Dempster are on the restricted list, presumably for the entire season, and the Mariners and Red Sox are not playing with 24 man rosters.

    • brianincbus - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:46 PM

      Calcaterra is saying that the same people that think you should storm the gates with pitchforks and flaming torches (figuratively) for PEDs think this is no big deal, therein lies the inconsistency.

    • matt14gg - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:24 PM

      Of course “jeffbbf”. It’s just another straw man argument by Calcaterra. He does this for one of two reasons:

      1) To be a contrarian, and thus appear as the enlightened hero of his latest tale

      2) To let everyone know he’s the smartest guy in the room

      It’s all nonsense of course and it tends to hide a couple possibilities:

      1) He’s a closet racist who overcompensates by being a weathervane whose pointer swings wildly at all the “racists” on this site that he patiently tolerates/takes to task

      2) He’s so insecure that he needs to constantly reassure himself that he’s smarter than everyone else by creating illusions so he can treat the reader to his incisive prose

      It’s too bad too, cuz their are some really good baseball writers here who actually care about just talking baseball, but this site tends to be dominated by his self-serving nonsense.

  3. rayvid - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    So in reality all he got was a “2 start” suspension and since they get paid….how does that “discipline” a player or a team?? It should be based on starts for a starting picture. 5 starts.

    • NYTolstoy - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:35 PM

      When they get suspended they get suspended without pay for those 10 days. He probably also got a fine for being stupid. I think in all that’s fine. It’s not like he was throwing at players purposely. Plus because of his stupidity he will now be watched like crazy especially in new york.

      • stevem7 - Apr 24, 2014 at 4:26 PM

        Gee sorry there NYTolstoy but they don’t get suspended without pay. It’s already been brought out he will be paid during the suspension and because of the schedule he’ll only miss one start.

    • NYTolstoy - Apr 24, 2014 at 4:34 PM

      Can you show me a link where they said he would get paid? I have always assumed they don’t for the time suspended. In my line of work when someone gets suspended with pay they state suspended with pay. otherwise they know they wont be getting a paycheck for the time being.

  4. larrymahnken - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:30 PM

    Actually, Aaron, although Pineda could start on the 11th game (pushing Kuroda and Tanaka back a day), the Yankees still need to use Nuno and (presumably) Phelps for games where they would not have needed them.

    Nuno would have been skipped the next time through the rotation – now he has to pitch Sunday. He’ll then come up in the spot where Pineda would have pitched on 5/2, and Phelps would pitch on 5/3 when Nuno would have pitched. So the Yankees will have two Pineda starts replaced by a start by Nuno and Phelps.

  5. lukedunphysscienceproject - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    Good. Well deserved.

    Be interested to hear from all of the “MLB always gives the Yankees a pass” folks on this one.

    As a Yankee fan, this whole thing makes my brain bleed. What on earth happened here? If it’s true that many, if not most, pitchers do this and manage to hide it and get away with it as many have suggested, why did every Yankee in that dugout allow Pineda go out on the field knowing that everyone in the world was going to see what he was doing? If Farrell could clearly see it from the Red Sox dugout, are you telling me that people sitting next to him in the Yankees dugout couldn’t? Or if they could, didn’t think it might be a good idea to say something?

    There’s an unwritten story here. My impression, watching the whole thing unfold, was that an entire organization seemed to be leaving one man adrift. I keep going back to the same question: Someone in the Yankee dugout either saw him put that on his neck or just saw it after the fact, and allowed him to go out on the field without saying anything. Why?

    • peymax1693 - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:55 PM

      It’s possible that they didn’t think Farrell would actually call him on it, knowing that doing so would paint bulls eyes on Lester and Buchholz. I know I am in the minority on this point, but I think Farrell’s hypocrisy is getting overshadowed by Pineda’s monumental stupidity, but it shouldn’t.

  6. trbmb - Apr 24, 2014 at 4:13 PM

    Cashman should be penalized for being a totally inept General Manager. Can’t manage Pineda and for 17 years can’t manage to draft and develop any players. How this dope skates is beyond me unless his capability in spending wads of cash on free agents is viewed as some immense talent and skill. Like to see him execute that skill outside NY.

    • anxovies - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:10 PM

      Geez! Cashman is NOT responsible for Nova getting caught with pine tar. Anybody who knows anything will tell you it’s Obama’s fault.

      • Dave Stevenson - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:16 PM

        Don’t the Yankees blame everything on A-Rod? It’s his fault.

    • Dave Stevenson - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:12 PM

      Cashman’s job is not to “manage” Pineda. That would be Girardi’s job.

    • lukedunphysscienceproject - Apr 24, 2014 at 7:18 PM

      You mean like Epstein has done executing his skills outside Boston?

  7. DonRSD - Apr 24, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    Why not suspend him 10 “starts”!!??

    • anxovies - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:13 PM

      For having a substance on his person that most players agree does nothing except help get a better grip on the ball on cold days? What do you propose we do to chicken thieves, hack them to pieces with dull hatchets?

    • 18thstreet - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:30 PM

      Why not just execute him at the pitcher’s mound at a Brooklyn Cyclones home game on the 4th of July? That would really send a message.

  8. beermakers - Apr 24, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    He misses 10 pay checks so its stiffer than “2 starts”. I wasn’t quite sure how if it was different, when players are ejected from games or suspended for on field conduct vs. PEDs.

    I do think he should have got 12 games just, because it was equally as blatant when it was on his wrist a few weeks ago.

    • Dave Stevenson - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:14 PM

      Nope, suspension is with pay. Bryan Hoch just confirmed it on Twitter.

      • Dave Stevenson - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:19 PM

      • jwbiii - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:47 PM

        Teams have the option whether to pay players on the restricted list. If the Yankees choose to pay Pineda and not pay Alex Rodriguez, that’s their business.

      • beermakers - Apr 24, 2014 at 7:20 PM

        Thanks I was mislead, I asked on previous post, I tried looking and couldn’t find much about it, I think what he did was worse than what Gomez did in the Brawl and Gomez will actually miss a 3rd game. Unless they wise up on his appeal.

  9. thraiderskin - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:02 PM

    Pine tar isn’t illegal in all cases, so I have no issue with him using it to help him pitch… some might not care for that response, but to allow it sometimes sends mixed signals.

  10. brandotho - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    Using a foreign substance warrants twice the suspension as intentionally hitting person with a pitch possibly jeopardizing his career and life. Because that makes so much sense.

    • lukedunphysscienceproject - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:22 PM

      As I posted above, I have no problem with Pineda’s suspension. But you raise a GREAT point. What kind of sport worries more about the “integrity” of its game to the point where it gives more games in a suspension to a guy who uses pine tar than it gives to a guy who throws a pitch at someone’s skull?

    • jwbiii - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:55 PM

      On the other hand, it is only 1/8 the suspension for using a PED, another form of cheating.

  11. kevo95 - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    Cheater should b kicked out of Baseball
    Bunch of Bitches just like the Patriots spoiled spoiled

  12. slaugin - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:57 PM

    I’m more interested in seeing if Girardi retaliates in any way. If I were him I’d say something like “If John wants to play games, we can play games” and do nothing. Farrell would be sweating it every time they play.

  13. chip56 - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:22 PM

    Craig’s problem stems from an apparent belief that all violations should be treated equally. I don’t think Craig actually believes that so much as he’s trolling for commenters on his blogs.

    • wjarvis - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:46 PM

      No it’s not that everything should be treated equally, it’s that using a banned substance to enhance your performance is looked at differently if you apply it directly to your fingers and ball vs ingesting it.

      Can someone explain to me how using a sticky substance to improve your grip on a ball or using corked bat, are less of an offense then allowing yourself to work out more efficiently.

      • chip56 - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:36 PM

        When was the last time someone suffered long term health problems from the use of pine tar?

        I agree that MLB should explore the benefits of some forms of HGH. However, until that happens they are banned and considered a worse violation than pine tar on a pitcher’s hand.

  14. chip56 - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:18 PM

    “Craig Calcaterra argues that the lack of outrage from fans and media members seems very inconsistent in Pineda’s case, especially relative to the reaction to other forms of cheating in baseball”

    If that’s the case then Craig is trying to argue that he believes one form of cheating is the same as another – as in pine tar is the same as PED use. If that’s his opinion, fine, but it’s not the belief held by MLB, the MLBPA or, judging by the reaction, fans and analysts.

    The fact is (and as a former lawyer Craig should probably know this) governing bodies and society judge different infractions differently:

    Both are driving violations but there are different penalties and reactions when someone is caught speeding vs. being caught for drunk driving.

    Both are narcotics violations but there are different penalties and reactions for being caught smoking a joint than there are for drug smuggling

    Both are violent crimes but there are different penalties and reactions for assault than there are for rape.

    And, while both are violations of baseball rules there are different penalties and reactions for using pine tar than there are for using PEDs.

    It’s not “inconsistent.”

  15. keltictim - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:48 PM

    My argument for the different levels in fans outrage is pretty basic and simple, pine tar will not get you thrown in jail where steroids/PEDs will. Also nobody ever went crazy, such as a Jarod Remy, and killed another person on the pine tar. That’s where my different levels of angst lay. To the people that can’t stand Craig Cs writing , there are plenty of other blogs, bye bye.

  16. scotttheskeptic - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:53 PM

    I’ll say it again – teams should not be able to fill the roster spot of a player suspended for any reason.

  17. jdillydawg - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:42 PM

    I bet the Mariners are on the phone with Cashman right now trying to make a deal to bring him back.

  18. keltictim - Apr 24, 2014 at 10:28 PM

    I’m sorry “Farrels hypocrisy”? Didn’t the Red Sox clearly let him get away with it out in the open two weeks ago? Yes they did, it was blatantly obvious to anybody not watching on a black and white tv. This time was so over the top, had they not said something, the only thing more obvious than the tar, would have been their stupidity. As it has been pointed out many, many times, almost all pitchers use something other than rosin, especially on cold nights, the difference being everyone else shows the other team a lil more respect by doing it discreetly. It’s almost as if he was thinking “wow they were so stupid two weeks ago, I’m gonna show the world just how dumb they are”. If that’s not what he was thinking, it at least would have been the story the next day in all the papers. Headline “Red Sox are so dumb! Team misses obvious cheating by rival!”. C’mon man, two weeks ago you don’t think some assistant in Boston didn’t text some assistant in NY and say “dude wtf”, only to have it show up on his neck. Hypocrisy? No. No choice? Yes.

    • peymax1693 - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:27 PM

      I guess you missed the game Lester pitched in the World Series with a mysterious substance in the palm of his glove, or the game Clay Buchholz pitched against the Blue Jays on 5/1/13 with spray on sunscreen in exactly one spot on his forearm. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that game was played in Toronto at night, with the dome closed. I’m not a dermatologist, but I don’t think Clay needed sunscreen for that particular start.

  19. 2difshoe - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:56 PM

    Blatant disrespect for the game. I think a lifetime ban is justifiable!

  20. macjacmccoy - Apr 25, 2014 at 8:15 AM

    I think all cheaters should be punished . I think anyone who denies that is being an apologist. I think cheaters and their defenders are morally deficient. I also believe different forms of cheating should have different penalties.

    Singular cheating like Stealing Signals, Doctoring balls, or using juiced bats should carry less of a punishment then using uppers to gain advantage. While P.E.D.s like steroids should have the harshest penalties.

    The reasoning being things like juiced bats and balls only effective the game you are using them in and dont really endanger anyone. So the punishment for those offenses should be the least severe. With 10 games for 1st time violates being correct. I think a harsher penalty is appropriate for things like Ritalin and speed which also only effect the game that you are using them in. Mostly because the personal danger those drugs are associated with and possible illegality. With 25 game suspensions for 1st time violates being correct. Finally anabolic steroids and HGH. Unlike the previous cases steroids arent just singular forms of cheating. Meaning the use steroids doesnt just effect the user the day you use them. They have a continuous effect. Even if you stop using the drug the gains you received from it last months. With usually 10-20% (depending on quality and if you keep in shape) never going away. That’s why I believe it deserves the harshest penalties. With 50 games lost being appropriate for 1st time violators.

    These are just some very basic reasons for why in my opinion all cheating is wrong, but also why they deserve different punishments.

    Let me be very clear about 1 thing though, guys who use juiced balls aren’t morally superior then guys who use steroids. They all knowingly decided to break the rules. How they went about it makes no difference on a right and wrong level. To me Pineda is just as bad as Pettitte, and should be marked as a cheater no different then him. Pettitte just deserved a longer punishment because his cheating would give him an advantage even after he stopped, while Pineda’s wouldnt.

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