New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was ejected from Tuesday’s game for using pine tar on the mound. The umpires forced the starter to leave the contest against the Boston Red Sox in the second inning, after finding the substance on his neck.
It’s the second time in two weeks that Pineda was caught using pine tar, though it’s the first time he was ejected. On April 10 at Yankee Stadium, cameras showed a shiny substance on Pineda’s hand that appeared to be pine tar. New York went on to win that game 4-1. On Wednesday night, though, Boston manager John Farrell alerted the umpires, and Pineda only made it through five outs.
Following his six-inning, one run performance in the Bronx, Pineda contended that the substance on his hand was dirt mixed with sweat. After the 5-1 loss at Fenway Park, the 25-year-old admitted to cheating.
“It was cold. I couldn’t feel the ball in the first inning. I didn’t want to hit nobody,” Pineda said. “I apologize to my teammates, and to everybody. I’ll learn from this mistake. It won’t happen again.”
Pineda had trouble in the first inning, allowing two runs on four hits. Television cameras showed that he didn’t have any pine tar on his neck to start the game.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said in the post-game press conference that he wasn’t mad at his pitcher, even though he was caught using pine tar for the second time in three starts.
"He's a young kid," Girardi said. "I don't think he's doing anything to cheat. I think he's trying to compete. It's unfortunate it happened. As I said, we'll get through it. We'll deal with it. It's a little bump in the road."
Girardi got into some hot water of his own, during the game. Following Pineda’s ejection, an ESPN camera was filming starter talking to Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild and trainer Steve Donahue. Girardi was caught pushing the camera, which was situated in the dugout, away from the direction of his player and coaches.
“The camera is meant for the dugout, not for the tunnel, and Michael was already out of the game,” Girardi said. “I don’t want it down in our tunnel, that’s our private area. It has been clearly stated that (camera) is for the dugout, not for the tunnel, not for conversations and what happens between players and coaches and that was my beef.
There’s a good chance Pineda will receive a suspension for his actions. Before Wednesday’s game, he had thrown 18 innings in three starts, allowing just two runs.