Yankees GM Brian Cashman: “I think we’re all embarrassed”
There’s plenty to go over from last night’s 5-1 Yankees loss to the Red Sox, which will be remembered as the game that Michael Pineda was ejected in the second inning for having pine tar on the right side of his neck.
As we’ve covered in several other stories on MLB.com, Pineda felt that he was having trouble controlling the ball after allowing two first-inning runs on a cold night. He said that he applied the pine tar before the second inning, even though the Yankees had several conversations with him about the issue following the April 10 incident against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.
Several members of the Red Sox said that the issue really wasn’t that Pineda used pine tar to help his control – it’s in violation of Rule 8.02, but it’s something that happens widely in the game, and hitters would prefer that the pitcher knows where the ball is going. The problem was that he was so blatant about it, essentially forcing John Farrell’s hand. There was no way the Red Sox could ignore it; Farrell even said before the game that if Pineda used pine tar, he just hoped it would be a little more discreet.
Pineda was apologetic after the game, manager Joe Girardi was mostly supportive of what he called “bad judgment” on Pineda’s part, and pitching coach Larry Rothschild seemed to be a bit mystified how it had all happened. General manager Brian Cashman offered the most unvarnished take, which we’ll provide a deeper look into right here:
Your reaction to the ejection? “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. 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 right now, we’re scratching our head right now, how that took place.”
Was there a conversation with him? “I think it’s probably best to not comment on that, but clearly what took place in the second inning should not be taking place.”
Are you angry with Pineda? “I think we’re all embarrassed. We as a group are embarrassed that this has taken place. I think Michael’s embarrassed. I think we’re embarrassed that somehow he took the field with that in the position like that. It’s just obviously a bad situation, and it clearly forced the opponents’ hand to do something that I’m sure they didn’t want to do, but they had no choice but to do. Obviously we’ll deal with the ramifications of that now.”
Are you more likely to check Red Sox pitchers now? “It’s not anything that’s on our mind. Listen, I would want our manager to do what John Farrell did. I would want, on behalf of our fan base and our team, to do the same thing that they did. Obviously this is a terrible situation that we all witnessed and we’re all a part of and we all have ownership to because there was clearly a failure and a breakdown that he wound up walking out of that dugout with something like that. It’s just not a good situation.”
Why didn’t you know? “I think with television. With television I think the Red Sox probably saw it just like we saw it, but he was already on the field. He didn’t have it in the first inning. He had it in the second inning. There wasn’t anything there in the first inning. He walked out of the dugout in the second inning with it on, and I think by the time everybody saw what was going on, it was too late.”
Did you see it before the umpires? “I personally got a phone call from people watching the game on TV like, ‘Hey, I don’t know what’s going on, but something looks (off).’ So I got out of the stands, walked in, but by the time I made it from the stands in here it was too late.”
Is the problem that he used it or that it was so obvious? “It’s against the rules, let’s leave it at that.”
How could it be so blatant? “We are all responsible. He did what he did, but we are all responsible that he got out of our dugout and was on the field in that manner. We’re all responsible for that situation. Don’t misunderstand that we are a part of putting something on him and stuff like that, but clearly we all have ownership of the fact that that never should have happened.”
Was he told not to do it? “There have been enough conversations. And obviously there will be more now, or there have already been more now, even in-game when he was ejected from the game. I think after the last go-around with the same team, clearly there were a lot of conversations about this. There are no secrets there.”
Should the rule be changed? “That’s for another day. Those are what the rules are that are currently in play. Bottom line is that it’s against the rules, and now we will deal with the consequences.”
Do you expect a suspension? “Yes.”
Your message to Yankees fans? “This is not something that we’re proud to be sitting in, and we’re certainly embarrassed. When he took the field in the second inning, that should never have taken place.”