Here is the official word from Major League Baseball:
New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda has been suspended for 10 games for possessing a foreign substance on his person during the bottom of the second inning of his Club’s Wednesday, April 23rd game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Joe Garagiola, Jr., Senior Vice President of Standards and On-Field Operations for Major League Baseball, made the announcement.
Unless appealed, Pineda’s suspension is scheduled to begin tonight, when the two Clubs continue their series in Boston. If appealed, the discipline issued to him will be held in abeyance until the process is complete.
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.”
What were the Yankees expecting from Michael Pineda when they reported to Spring Training this season? There were hopes that he would be able to regain his form and make that big trade with the Mariners look like more of a win, sure, but no one really knew for sure what kind of pitcher Pineda could be. Labrum tears are tricky like that; it was certainly fair to have questions and doubts about what the Yankees had on their hands.
And yet here we are at Fenway Park, as Pineda will take the ball carrying a 2-1 record and a sterling 1.00 ERA in his first three starts for the Yankees. He has already defeated the Red Sox once this season – the ‘pine tar/dirt’ game on April 10 at Yankee Stadium – and will be trying to chalk up his third straight victory tonight after blanking the Cubs his last time out. John Lackey has the ball for Boston.
“We weren’t sure what we were going to get from [Pineda] when the season started, that’s for sure, when we came to Spring Training,” manager Joe Girardi said today. “But the way I saw him throw the ball in Spring Training, I’m not surprised what he’s done so far. Obviously our job is to kind of take it a little bit slow with him and we’ve done that, we’ll continue to do that, but we’re really pleased with what he’s done. He’s been dynamite.”
The game will be televised on the YES Network and ESPN, and can be heard on WFAN.
Here are tonight’s lineups:
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Michael Pineda RHP (2-1, 1.00)
|RED SOX (9-12)
Grady Sizemore RF
John Lackey RHP (2-2, 5.25)
The Yankees continue their road trip tonight, opening a three-game series against the Red Sox here at Fenway Park. The contest will mark Jacoby Ellsbury’s return to Boston after signing a seven-year, $153 million deal with the Yankees, as well as Masahiro Tanaka’s first encounter with the Green Monster. It should be a good one to watch. Jon Lester has the ball for the Sox.
The game will be televised on My9 and can be heard on WFAN.
Here are tonight’s lineups:
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Masahiro Tanaka RHP (2-0, 2.05)
|RED SOX (9-11)
Grady Sizemore RF
Jon Lester LHP (2-2, 2.17)
Ivan Nova’s season appears to be over. The Yankees right-hander has been advised to have Tommy John surgery to repair a partially torn right ulnar collateral ligament.
Nova was examined on Tuesday by team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad at New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York, where an MRI arthrogram confirmed the original diagnosis of a partial tear of the right ulnar collateral ligament.
The recovery time for Tommy John surgery is approximately 12 to 18 months.
“We had an inkling that was going to be the recommendation,” manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s unfortunate and obviously he has to make a decision now. It’s what you don’t want to hear.”
Girardi said that he had not spoken to Nova, who sustained the injury during an April 19 start against the Rays at Tropicana Field, but the Yankees have already decided how they will patch the hole left by his departure.
Vidal Nuno, who pitched five scoreless innings in a spot start against the Rays on Sunday, will slide in as the fifth starter for the foreseeable future. Nuno’s next start has been set for Saturday against the Angels at Yankee Stadium.
“He pitched extremely well,” Girardi said. “Now you would think that you could move him to 80, 85 pitches the next time, which is almost where our starters were the first start; pretty close.”
Girardi said that Nova has the option to seek another opinion before undergoing surgery. Nova was 2-2 with an 8.27 ERA in four starts for New York this season, including allowing a career-high four homers in his last start.
“We had high hopes for him because of what he did at the end of last year,” Girardi said. “His Spring Training was very, very good. We had big expectations for him. This is a blow to our rotation, but no one is going to feel sorry for you. As a ball club, we have to figure it out.”