Yankees right-hander denies he used pine tar Thursday, claims it was only dirt
NEW YORK -- Joe Torre, Major League Baseball's executive vice president of operations, said that Michael Pineda will not face discipline after television cameras spotted the Yankees right-hander with a substance on his pitching hand during a start against the Red Sox on Thursday.
"The umpires did not observe an application of a foreign substance during the game and the issue was not raised by the Red Sox," Torre said in a statement. "Given those circumstances, there are no plans to issue a suspension, but we intend to talk to the Yankees regarding what occurred."
Pineda claimed that the substance on his pitching hand was only dirt, though there was speculation that it was actually pine tar or a similar sticky substance, which could be used to gain better control of pitches.
"I told you last time, I'm sweating [on] my hand too much," Pineda said on Friday. "I'm putting dirt, and that's it. ... I'm coming here early, doing my work and nobody said [anything] to me today."
General manager Brian Cashman said that he spoke to Torre about Pineda before Friday's game and called it "a resolved issue."
"It's something that becomes something extra that everybody has to deal with because of the obvious," Cashman said. "Obviously we want to turn the page as quick as possible. The schedule is unfolding and we've got a big game against our archrivals again tonight. Hopefully we can turn the focus back on that."
During the third inning of Thursday's game, the Red Sox broadcast on NESN focused on Pineda's pitching hand, showing a shiny substance around the palm and wrist area. Boston manager John Farrell said that he heard about the substance in the fourth inning, but when Pineda returned to the mound for the fifth inning, the substance had disappeared.
"In conditions like last night, particularly this time of year when it's so cold, it's not uncommon for a pitcher to try to get a grip in some way," Farrell said on Friday. "We're more focused on what we need to do offensively to get going."
Though it is in violation of MLB Rule 8.02.4, which states "the pitcher shall not apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball," pitchers have been known to use pine tar, spray-on sunscreen or other sticky substances to help their control.
"Everybody uses pine tar in the league. It's not a big deal," Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz said.
Outfielder Shane Victorino, who is on the 15-day disabled list and did not play in Thursday's game, was one of the few voices from Boston's side that had an issue with Pineda.
"Last night, to me, in my opinion, that was a little too overboard and a little blatant," Victorino said. "But again, I didn't play in the game, so I'm not going to sit here and critique the situation.
"All I know is that it was obvious and I sure think Pineda is a good pitcher. I still give him credit for being a great pitcher. Beyond that, last night was a little obvious. Whatever the league does, the league does."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he would be in favor of the rule receiving some revision.
"The way we're addressing rules now, I think we could probably address that and get some clarity on it," Girardi said. "It would probably be helpful."
Girardi said that he saw the screenshots from the NESN broadcast, but he did not speak to Pineda about the substance.
"I don't talk to pitchers about that; do you use or don't you use? This is not a recreational drug," Girardi said. "I don't talk to people about that. I'm aware. I've been on teams where I've seen it. I'm 99 percent sure that I know of other guys on other teams that use it. I just haven't said anything. Will we talk to Michael? If we did, I wouldn't tell you anyway."