Red Sox manager John Farrell looked reluctant as he strolled out to chat with home plate umpire Gerry Davis Wednesday night in Fenway Park. But this time Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda gave Farrell no choice. For the 2nd time in two weeks Pineda was on the mound against the Bo Sox….and for the 2nd time in two weeks he was smeared in pine tar. This time on his neck. On April 10 Farrell didn’t call him on it. Everyone watching on TV could clearly see the tar, pointed out by cameras and broadcasters. But the Red Sox didn’t complain, after all everyone cheats in baseball so what’s the big deal? Pine tar, steroids, corked bats. It’s all part of the game right? But this time Pineda was so obvious (defiant? naive?) with his cheating Farrell had no choice but to point it out to Davis.
“I could see it from the dugout,” Farrell said. “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.”
It was almost comical to watch as Davis checked Pineda’s hands and gloves, then reached up to sample the goo on his neck, rubbed it between his thumb and fore finger and tossed the pitcher out of the game. Official MLB response was a 10 game suspension of Pineda for “use of a foreign substance.”
“We certainly are responsible,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said, at least acknowledging the team’s responsibility for the actions of a player on his squad. “There’s certainly failure on our part as an organization as a whole that he took the field in the second inning with that on his neck. He’s responsible for his actions, but we failed as an organization for somehow him being in that position.”
Pineda’s manager Joe Girardi, however, who turned the TV cameras pointing into the Yankees dugout tunnel around after the incident, sounded as ridiculous as his Dominican pitcher looked in defending the right-hander. “He used poor judgment tonight,” Girardi said. “He’ll admit to that. But, you can look at everybody in that room, we have not always made the best decisions in our life. You learn from them. … He feels like he let his teammates down.”
Pineda, when interviewed after the game on April 10, responded to questions regarding what everyone with access to a TV set and a working set of eyeballs could tell was pine tar on his wrist, claimed it only to be “dirt,” and stated that he “sweats a lot.” This time he was more direct. “I did it by myself… Yeah it’s pine tar.” No Sh#t.