UPDATE: Pineda and Cashman’s post game video below
With two outs in the 2nd inning Boston Red Sox Manager John Farrell came out of the dugout and asked home plate umpire Gerry Davis to check Michael Pineda for a foreign substance. Davis immediately wiped the side of Pineda’s neck and determined there was a ‘mystery’ substance on his neck. The substance isn’t really a mystery we can all tell it’s probably pine tar. With the plethora of high-def camera’s nowadays, its almost impossible for anyone to hide anything. Especially for a guy who is already under the microscope. This all started on April 10th against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. During that outing, NESN camera’s showed a similar substance on the palm and wrist area of Pineda’s pitching hand. By the time Farrell was made aware of it, the substance was gone from Pineda’s wrist and hand. “I don’t use pine tar. It’s dirt.” Pineda said after that game in which the Yankees won 4-1. Farrell was asked about it prior to tonight’s game and said that it isn’t a an issue, as long as the pitcher is discreet about it, and clearly looked like Pineda was not trying to hard to hide it.
At the start of the game the side of his neck was clean. When he came out to pitch the 2nd inning there was the something clearly on his neck. ESPN, YES, and NESN camera’s all showed the before and after images of Pineda’s neck. Girardi even turned ESPN’s mounted dugout camera from being able to view Pineda walking into the clubhouse after the ejection. Pineda had been tagged for a few runs in the 1st inning and probably felt he wasn’t able to get a good grip on the ball, but to be that blatant about it, was just plain stupid.
Pineda ejected for substance on neck pic.twitter.com/lrk4rejt21
Once again Girardi denied knowing anything about it, he was asked about it during his post game interview. He did acknowledge the situation after the fact, and said Pineda was wrong. “He made an error in judgment, and he’ll admit to that,” Girardi said. GM Brian Cashman also spoke tonight. He said that this should of never happened and is an embarrassment to the organization. “I think we’re all embarrassed. We as a group are embarrassed that this has taken place,” Cashman told reporters. He did try and take some heat off Pineda by saying that the team should of been looking for it and knew that all eyes were going to be on Pineda. He was asked about the conversation he had with MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and ex-Yankee manager Joe Torre after the first incident, but refused to comment on what was said.
The most important thing was that Pineda fully admitted to using the substance. He confirmed after the game that it was pine tar, and he applied it himself alone in the clubhouse in between innings. “I apologize to my team and everybody. I learn from this mistake, and this won’t happen again.” said a somber Pineda. He felt very bad about the situation he put his teammates in and said he will accept any punishment handed down by MLB.
Yes it’s an unwritten rule that pitchers use a little something when the weather is cold, it’s something that pitchers have been doing for years. But you just can’t be that reckless with it. MLB had already talked to Pineda and the Yankees about this, so with this ejection we should expect Pineda to be suspended at least one start. Pineda needs to learn how to conceal this better, or just do away with it all together. Girardi, the coaching staff and even his teammates need to be on top of this in the future. With a suspension looming and the entire organization completely aware of this, it’s probably the last time we will this happen. Pineda has bright future with the team and has worked very hard to get back to this place. He was honest about it, that’s what counts in my eyes. Time to move on.