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Showalter cites pitcher's grip on Pineda issue

MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- Is pine tar cheating for pitchers?

Technically, it's against the rules. But given the reaction around Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda on Thursday night, when a shiny substance was spotted on his right hand in a game against the Red Sox, it doesn't seem to be much of an issue. Pineda responded by saying that it was only dirt. Red Sox manager John Farrell didn't take exception to it, and Orioles manager Buck Showalter shared the same opinion Friday afternoon.

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BALTIMORE -- Is pine tar cheating for pitchers?

Technically, it's against the rules. But given the reaction around Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda on Thursday night, when a shiny substance was spotted on his right hand in a game against the Red Sox, it doesn't seem to be much of an issue. Pineda responded by saying that it was only dirt. Red Sox manager John Farrell didn't take exception to it, and Orioles manager Buck Showalter shared the same opinion Friday afternoon.

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"We're playing and it's 40 degrees, and I know there's a lot of hitters that hope they're using pine tar so they can grip the baseball," Showalter said. "They're not doing it necessarily to gain an advantage. They're doing it so they can grip the baseball. Try tonight. I'll give you a ball and let it sit in a bag for seven innings. I'm going to flip it to you and let you try to hold it when you're cold. So you've got to understand why it's happening."

"That's why you don't have as much of an issue as you get further into the season. When you go to Oakland and it's a night game and it's cold. So there are two sides to that. Do I want to call you on it and now you can't grip the baseball and now you're going to hit one of my guys in the coconut? I don't like that. Is it making the curveball tighter or the slider better? If you're a changeup pitcher, do you want your hands to be sticky? No, you don't. So there's a lot of variables to it. But everybody looks for some way to grip the baseball better because the way it is now, it's really hard. Why do hitters have pine tar and pitchers don't? It's legal, right?"

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli.

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