‘What was he thinking?’ was the initial reaction. Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda was thrown out of the game in the second inning due to a foreign substance on his neck, which turned out to be pine tar. He was accused of this in his last start against the Red Sox in New York, but Red Sox manager John Farrell did not call it out. Tonight he had no choice, as the substance on his neck was visible from the Green Monster seats.
Pineda is looking at a 10 game suspension, and on the heels of Ivan Nova’s injury that’s the last thing the Yanks need to hear right now. And we can expect managers to look closely at Pineda the rest of the season.
There was an evident lack of energy from the Yanks after the incident, and Boston starter John Lackey didn’t help by turning in his best start of the season. The offense was limited to a Carlos Beltran double, and an Alfonso Soriano sac fly after Beltran advanced to third.
As reported by espn.com, GM Brian Cashman took the heat:
“We certainly are responsible, and 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,” Cashman said. “He’s responsible for his actions, but we failed as an organization for somehow him being in that position. I don’t know how, none of us know right now, we’re scratching our head right now, how that took place.”
And this from pitching coach Larry Rothschild on Pineda:
“It’s one of those things where I’m not sure he understood what the penalties were, even though I had told him what could happen,” Rothschild said. “I think in his mind, he needed to grip the baseball. When it’s cold out, and windy, those balls are like cue balls, and it makes it really tough. Look, he’s not doing anything to try to change things and get a hitter out — scuffing the ball, using Vaseline or anything like that. It was strictly what he said, and that’s trying to get a better grip on the baseball.”
Ian O’Connor of ESPNNewYork.com thinks the sky might have fallen, but they’ll certainly be repercussions as additional pressure is now placed on the pitching staff. Stay tuned! Never a dull moment in Yankees-land…