23 Apr 2014
Michael Pineda apparently doesn’t know to quit while he is ahead. He was tossed in the second inning tonight because he had an illegal substance on his neck. (It looked like the umpire said “pine tar” when he threw him out so I am going with that.)
Now, let’s put aside the debate about whether or not using pine tar to get a better grip should be illegal for a second. MLB has decided that it is and that means you have to be clever if you are going to use it. Putting it on your hand or neck is not clever. Doing it against the same team you did it against the first time is just stupid. I can’t believe that there isn’t someone in the Yankees’ clubhouse who could have shown Pineda how to hide pine tar somewhere less obvious. Al Leiter and David Cone talked about putting some grip on their belt in cold weather- these are not state secrets!
It you want to argue that this is a stupid rule, I won’t argue with you. I don’t like the idea of pitchers throwing 95-mph without control. But, that doesn’t excuse Pineda’s stupidity here. If he needed something to help him grip the ball he should have been way more subtle about it. John Farrell couldn’t let Pineda get away with such an obvious flaunting of the rules a second time.
Now there are a few issues going forward.
1- The Yankees are probably going to lose Pineda for 8 or 10 games. Let’s say two starts. Who will fill those? I suspect Phelps since the Yankees are going to stretch him out tonight a bit, but that will be the first challenge facing the Yankees.
2- What are the Yankees going to do about pitchers for the next few days. With the bullpen being forced to get six-plus innings tonight they will probably need a replacement arm or two. (Of course if this game keeps going the way it is going we could see Dean Anna pitching later) But, the Yankees just optioned Daley and Mitchell to the minors and cannot recall them without an injury. This could be a problem.
3- When/who will the Yankees choose to search in “retaliation” for tonight? The smart money is probably on Buccholz, but he isn’t pitching this series. The Yankees end the year at Fenway when the weather should be cool again. It wouldn’t shock me if they waited five months.
UPDATE Give Pineda credit. He stood up, answered questions, apologized and admitted he used pine tar. When was the last time you heard a MLB player do that?