Michael Pineda suspended ten games for pine tar incident

Girardi Notes: Camera, Foreign Substances
Yankees call up Shane Greene and Bruce Billings
(Jared Wickerham/Getty)
(Jared Wickerham/Getty)

Michael Pineda has been suspended ten games for having a “foreign substance on his person” during last night’s game, MLB has announced. Thanks to Monday’s off-day, he will only miss one start. The suspension starts immediately unless he files an appeal sometime between now and the first pitch of tonight’s game.

This suspension is not like Alex Rodriguez‘s suspension. The Yankees will not be able to call up a player to replace Pineda and have to play with a 24-man roster for the next ten games. What can you do. The rules are the rules. Pineda does get paid during the suspension (only drug suspensions are unpaid), though I’m not sure if he still accrues service time.

Hopefully Pineda does not appeal. There is a ton of evidence against him — video plus he admitted to using pine tar following the game — and the odds of getting the suspension overturned or reduced are tiny. Let’s get this thing out of the way early in the season rather than having the appeal hanging over the team for weeks on end.

David Phelps is the obvious candidate to make the spot start, but the Yankees could always call up one of the veterans from Triple-A. I guess it depends on whether Phelps is needed out of the bullpen over the next few games. We’re a few days away from worrying about that. Pineda’s rotation spot doesn’t come up again until next Saturday, against the Rays. He is eligible to return the following Monday. Pineda made a dumb mistake and now he has to face the music. That’s all there is to it.

Update: Pineda told reporters he will accept the suspension and begin serving it tonight. “I made a mistake,” he said, stating the obvious. Seems like appealing would have been pointless. Glad he didn’t.

Girardi Notes: Camera, Foreign Substances
Yankees call up Shane Greene and Bruce Billings
  • TWTR

    Great. Now change the rule to reflect the reality of its apparent usage.

  • qwerty


  • Rob S.

    It would really take some audacity for Pineda too appeal after all the embarrassment he’s already caused. Take your medicine young man.

    • Tom K

      No more audacious than any random player appealing a suspension for a rule infraction or a fight.

      But most appeals are meant to serve a few purposes: to get the suspension reduced and/or maximize a player’s availability during a key stretch of games.

      In the case of Pineda, a suspension reduction is useless unless he could get it cut down to 4 or 5 games, which isn’t happening and isn’t worth trying to explore, As for the key stretch of games….losing a top starter at any time is not ideal….and with the built-in off day, the bigger key is to get Pineda out there while losing the least amount of starts.

      So other than maybe a little extra money in his pocket, there is no baseball reason for Pineda to appeal…hence he most likely won’t.

      • Preston

        In this instance kicking the suspension down the road would probably hurt the Yankees. Right now Phelps is stretched and ready to go. In a couple of weeks we’d probably have to throw Brian Gordon or somebody equally as terrible.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Remember when we thought Brian Gordon had the potential to be some amazing scrap heap Cashninja find, kind of what we see Anna and Solarte as now?

          • Preston

            I don’t remember it that way. I remember people being outraged that the team wouldn’t throw one of the prospects out for a start and instead picked up a journey man minor leaguer.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      It’s within his right to appeal. You should NEVER feel embarrassed to exercise your rights.

      • ALZ

        He better off not though if he is getting paid during the time. Since they have an off day in the future it will be only 1 start. Better that than trying to fight it and then not being able to start it the day after he pitched last.

  • King George

    Yankees and Pineda got off easy…he will only miss one start due to the Monday off day. CC can throw on Tuesday.

    • TWTR

      Not really. The suspension is consistent with prior precedent.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        Joel Peralta was suspended 8 games for pine tar in 2012. I guess the extra 2 games is for inflation?

        • vicki

          for gall.

          • Preston

            8 games for a reliever could be viewed as more than 10 games for a starter. An oft used reliever like Peralta probably missed 3-4 opportunities to pitch in those games. Pineda is only missing one start.

            • vicki

              i was being flip. i have no issue with the ten games.

        • RetroRob

          …or the fact he was “caught” the prior game against the Red Sox, and was a major story, and yet he still went back on the mound with another glob of goo, this time on his neck.

          What I find more interesting is the lenght of the suspension. A pitcher throws at a batter, as the Red Sox did to A-Rod, and he gets five games. In this case, a pitcher, Pineda, has pinetar on his body, an act done by basically every pitcher and accepted by MLB, and he gets ten games.

          The former act could endanger a player, the latter one might save a player. Mighty odd rules.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          Reliever vs. starter. Eight games probably cost Peralta four appearances given how often he is used. Ten games for Pineda is one start.

        • Ed

          Starting pitchers get the longest suspensions, then relievers, and finally position players get the shortest suspensions.

          Pitchers don’t play every day, so they get longer suspensions to ensure they miss games. Starters almost always get 5 or 10 games, with the intention being that they miss 1 or 2 starts, but offdays and strategic appeals generally make the suspensions even less disruptive.

          • RetroRob

            A five-game suspension for a starter is the same as a zero game suspension for a starting position player.

  • Yangeddard Solarte

    Now BGDP cannot be used as the swing man in the pen because he’ll have to prepare for a start. And they’re already down Nova. Rothschild said he explained to Pineda what could happen. Now that it has happen he better get the message.

  • Yankeefan91

    Was It dumb for Pineda to make it obvious YES am I mad he uses pinetar to get a grip on a baseball absolutely not. If players are telling you it’s ok to use it n there’s no proff of pinetar doing anything to a baseball why make it ilegal as I mentioned in the other thread Major League Baseball Muds there baseball for grip how is that any different if a pitchers uses a lil pinetar to grip a baseball?

  • Capo

    Blah. He deserves it. Just sucks that we’re stuck one short in the bullpen for the next 10 days (luckily, just 9 games with the off day).

    On a selfish note of annoyance, I’m going to the Tuesday and Saturday games next week. Was lined up to see Pineda vs. Mariners, then Tanaka vs. Rays. Looks like I’ll be getting Sabathia and Phelps instead. Quite the downgrade.

    • vicki

      i really, really hope you somehow get el gangsta that saturday.

  • NeilT

    Just wait for the RedSox fans to start whining that he’ll only miss 1 scheduled start blah blah blah.

    • vicki

      where are you all running into so many sox fans? i have a few boston fan friends, but they’re cool, rational people; they’re my friends, after all. but if you’re spending time in yahoo or espn comments sections, or the like, i’d have to recommend logging off.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Thank you, vicki.

        I’ve actually heard more from Mets fans today, FWIW. Some really funny gifs out there.

        • vicki

          my biggest met fan friend stevo actually had big mike going for his fantasy team last night, so he’s taking his share of shit too.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Give Stevo some shit on my behalf.

        • RetroRob

          I have no problem with Red Sox fans. I understand their passion for their team. Mets fans and New Yorkers who root for the Red Sox? Zeros. No respect. In a word, traitors.

      • Cy Tanaka

        I live in NE and a lot of Boston fans are assholes.

        I went to the doctor after the Yankees won the series against Boston in Yankee Stadium. The doctor had couple glass cases of Red Sox stuff and naturally I was wearing my Yankees stuff.

        All the doctor could say was to complain about replay, saying how the call in the Saturday game was wrong since Gardner’s foot came off the bag. I pointed out that the score at the time was 7-4 and that had been Gardner been called out it wouldn’t have impacted the game at all.

        He had nothing to say to that.

        Many Boston fans are hypocrites and crybabies.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          So are Yankee fans.

        • vicki

          Many Boston fans are hypocrites and crybabies.


          none of us has claim to moral superiority. nor would i seek any.

          • Cy Tanaka

            I think overall Boston fans are worse.

            Just look at the constant Yankees Suck chants.

            Yankees fans don’t chant Boston sucks nearly as much as the Yankees suck nonsense.

            When the Pats won their first superbowl the fans started chanting Yankees suck.

            Come on Jorge and Vicki, give yourselves more credit than that, don’t group yourselves in with those Sox fans :)

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              I once heard “Yankees suck” get chanted at a NETS game. There were no Sox fans there.

              It was in Jersey. We would not pull that shit in Brooklyn.

              I will say this, though, and I mean it: I was in Maine a few years ago, and people just randomly walk down the street wearing “Yankees Suck” shirts. They’re not on their way to a game or anything. It seemed like part of their regular wardrobe rotation.

              While that’s not representative of the many Sox fans I know who are actually very good people, that’s just fucking weird.

              • Cy Tanaka

                The worst is how they always try to have it both ways.

                They whine about the Yankees spending more than them but have no problem out spending the Rockies 3 to 1 who they beat in the 2007 series.

                And many don’t get it with Ellsbury and still don’t get it with Damon. Like any of them would stay at their current job if offered a lot more by a competitor.

                Funny how pissed they are at Ellsbury and Damon but give management a pass for low balling players.

                • JAG

                  I actually liked Michael Kay’s comment in regards to Ellsbury. It was something like “The team didn’t make him an offer. What did the fans want him to do, retire?”

                  I can be a little bit sore that, say, Cano left the Yankees for the bigger money, but I can accept and understand that decision and not be annoyed at him. I REALLY can’t be annoyed at Nick Swisher for leaving for Cleveland when staying wasn’t an option. For some reason, a lot of fans, Red Sox or otherwise, don’t seem to see it that way.

                  There’s just no justifiable reason to be upset at Ellsbury for signing with the Yankees when the Red Sox made no token effort to keep him. It’s not even a mercenary thing at that point.

  • The Great Gonzo

    I guess the part that chaps me on this the most at this point (and all non-PED suspensions for that matter) is that the team suffers as well by losing the roster spot.

    Oh well, thems the breaks.

    • JAG

      In fairness, the team sort of deserves it for not driving the point home clearer after the last game. Although I grant that since it seems like this is the general way this type of suspension is handled that excuse doesn’t always fly.

  • mt

    This season just swings from the team looking absolutely great to very worrsome in the span of a few ganmes –

    First think of Sunday morning after two consective blowout losses to a divsion rival who wasn’t hitting by a score of 27-6.

    Then an extra inning win against Rays and a beatdown of Sox (4 out of 5 so far) and all of a sudden things look pretty good again (also Teix and Robertson are back) – joy and happiness again. – I also was looking forward to Pineda starting Cano’s first game next Tuesday – the only way that wass not going to happen was if he got injured or suspended last night and lo and behold, he is suspended (they would be foolish to appeal).

    But now after yesterday’s game (where Jeter looked particularly dreadful and Pineda has caused us to be short a man for 9 games) and we don’t really have stretched out starters since Phelps and Warren were (correctly) put in bullpen, things don’t look quite as rosy. I know the season is long and you have got to keep an even keel but the Yankees have been killing me this past week.

    • Cy Tanaka

      Sounds like you need to stop getting so worked up over the ups and downs of every game.

      All being said we are in first in the toughest division in baseball. Only one other team in Toronto even has a winning record in the division.

      Yes it’s early but take a look at the standings throughout the league. A lot of teams are pretty much where you would expect them to be at the end of the season.

      I predicted the Yankees to win the East and actually send the Captain out on top. I haven’t wavered on that one bit. Actually I’m even more confident with the way Cy Tanaka is looking like the true ace I said he’d be, how good Pineda has looked, Kuroda looking great, the bullpen looking great, and the lineup looking pretty damn good as well.

  • JoeyA

    I can promise you there will be faux outrage over Pineda only missing one start. People will complain Yanks got off easy bc of schedule and such.

    Bank on it

  • Cy Tanaka

    I really hope that Girardi responds by having Lester and/or Buccholtz checked.

    • vicki

      if they’re scuffing or using something to achieve shine balls, whatever, sure. nothing has changed there. but not for pine tar. when our guys dig in at the plate don’t you want opposing pitchers to have some measure of control?

      • mitch

        Agreed. Just let the situation blow over. No need to escalate things.

    • forensic

      They use sunscreen. That’s a little harder to say for sure that they’re using it for the sole purpose of affecting the ball (except for those games where they do it in a dome).

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Accomplishes nothing but gamesmanship. I guess that’s fine, but I hope more for a win.

      • Cy Tanaka

        This is a heated rivalry right?

        I don’t like that they got this one over on us. That their jackass fans get to act all high and mighty.

        Especially when Lester used in in last year’s World Series.

        Quid pro quo. We hate them, they hate us.

        Return the favor.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          It’s about a thousand times more a heated rivalry amongst fans as it is amongst the players.

          I’m guessing this changes even further as the core players from the past decade or so move on.

          I very much look forward to not getting as worked about games versus the Sox.

          • Preston

            That’s not going to happen. I will always hate and get worked up about Red Sox players. Sure someday David Ortiz won’t be there, and he’ll be replaced by someone I hate much less. But I hate Gomes and Lackey quite a bit, and they’re pretty new to the scene. I feel confident that the next batch of Sux will be as loathsome as the last (hopefully just not quite as talented).

            • vicki

              the hate is part of the experience for me. i guess i’ll spare you all another installment of my Baseball Is The Greek Theatre thesis.

              • Jorge Steinbrenner

                Yes, spare it, but I think I’d agree with it.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              If Gomes would shave, I’d instantly hate him less. I liked him on Tampa.

              NEVER liked Lackey, but it’d be hard for me to like him if he were a YANKEE.

              I did, however, like Dewey Evans, Jim Rice, etc. It’s possible.

              • Cy Tanaka

                You did hear Rice take an unnecessary cheap shot at Jeter a few years ago right? He was talking about A rod and tossed Jeter right in there with him.

                And Rice doesn’t belong in the Hall. Gets in on his last year of eligibility on a sympathy vote and not so impressive overall numbers.

              • Deep Thoughts

                I’ll always remember Gomes as the main prick who escalated a hard Shelley Duncan slide during Spring Training 2008 into a brawl with suspensions, the day after Eliot Johnson broke Cervelli’s wrist at the plate.

                Then, later that summer, he left the dugout after Shields hit Coco Crisp to start whaling on Crisp while he was down on the ground.

                I think he still belongs more on a hockey rink or in a holding cell than a baseball field.

            • Jimmy

              I can’t root against Ortiz. Sure he’s made my life miserable far too many times but much like Edgar (effing) Martinez, he never shows up or disrespects anyone on the Yanks. I hate the Lackeys of the world but have a level of respect for guys like Ortiz.

  • The Pinetaur

    I happen to know everything there is to know about pine tar! I love pine tar. I love pine tar on pancakes. I love it on pizza. And I take pine tar and put a little bit in my hair when I’ve had a rough week. What do you think holds it up, slick?

    • vicki

      smiley face.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      I greatly approve of this character.

    • mustang


  • mustang

    Once again time for Mustang’s GOOD IDEA BAD IDEA brought to by Grandpa’s Pine Tar Bar Soap “Moisturizes and deodorizes” for those uncomfortable post games interviews.

    GOOD IDEA: Going to watch Pineda pitch.

    BAD IDEA: Going to watch Pineda take an IQ test.

    • mustang

      Misses one start early in the year and saves a few innings on the arm.

      No biggie

      Moving on.

    • Preston

      I don’t agree with this. I have trouble wrapping my head around the double standard. Everybody is okay with you using it, as long as they don’t know you’re using it? That’s just stupid. He probably got yelled at for having it last time, and so he thought, okay I won’t use it. Then after a wild second inning, somebody said “hey idiot use some pine tar”, so he grabbed some. Players who didn’t grow up playing in the U.S. understandably have a difficult time understanding all the unwritten rules of baseball. Here’s a crazy idea, make common sense rules that reflect reality.

      • mustang

        They probably will “make common sense rules that reflect reality” one thing about MLB they been proactive lately.

  • forensic

    I still can’t really nail down exactly how I feel about all of this. I know everyone says that it doesn’t really affect the ball, but if you have a substance there that changes how well you can grip, then it seems to me it has to help you be able to spin the ball more, at least (maybe it even helps you avoid blisters as you wouldn’t seem to need the same pressure or torque on your skin alone). That said, I’m not putting it nearly in the same group as something like a nail file or sandpaper. Where is the line drawn though? Fake fingernails? Finger extensions? I might just need more time with this one.

    (and yes, I realize how weird this all sounds coming from someone who doesn’t really have a huge problem with players using steroids)

    Either way, just like I know I don’t want some dumbass shooting up in the clubhouse during a postgame interview, I know I don’t want some dumbass going out there looking like Pineda did (twice).

    • Holy Ghost

      If the position players aren’t complaining about it, I don’t think there’s much to it.

      It’s not as if this is some new thing for the game. Pitchers have been using Pine Tar(and other prohibited substances) for decades. If Pine Tar gave pitchers some kind of edge, we’d know by now. I wouldn’t even put it in the same category as corked baseball bats…

    • Preston

      This is how I think of it. On a warm day when you’re sweating, the sweat and rosin mix to form a substance a lot like pine tar. On cold days, no liquid, the rosin is useless. So they use pine tar which allows you to do the same things you’d do normally with the rosin. Allowing guys to get a good grip on the ball is good for everybody. It means the pitcher has more control over where the ball is going. Which means fewer wild pitches, fewer hit batsmen, more strikes, and when the ball is in the strike zone, there are more hits. I prefer watching that kind of game as opposed to a sloppy one, not to mention it’s safer.

  • Holy Ghost

    It’s a good thing A-Rod isn’t around to screw with this team’s chemistry

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    There we go.

    I don’t really care about precedent, who else got how many games, or what Sully McBoston thinks. That’s his suspension. We’ll see him in ten days and, whatever individually or systemically happened here, I hope it goes much better next time.

    • vicki

      yep, thanks. the thing that sticks with me is larry’s quote, “what, you want me to show him how to cheat better?”

      yes, larry. we do. we all do.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        I didn’t know he said that. I’m actually not a fan of that. I probably need to see some more context there before I judge.

        This is all irresponsible theorizing on my part but, if Pineda, after a half-inning of sitting there and stewing about it, really did do this as a panic move because he was afraid of hitting someone in the head, then he appears to be pretty isolated on that bench. How much of that lies on him, or lies on the rest of the team is further guesswork.

        In the end, this may have all been resolved with a simple, “Hey Larry, I need help.”

        • vicki

          he strikes me more and more as – i want to say this delicately – rather childlike. i’d want the coaching staff and his teammates to recognize this and to provide a little extra guidance.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            I could certainly see that.

            Someone needs to outstretch a hand. He also needs to not slap it away.

  • JC in NC

    I thought players weren’t docked pay for suspensions resulting from on the field incidents, didn’t this come up when Dempster get suspended for not being able to hit A-Rod on the first three attempts?

  • forensic

    Glad he’s not appealing. And, though I’m not a huge fan of his (seems like it’s dumb move after dumb move with him) I will give him credit for also standing up and answering questions after the game, rather than sneaking out the back door and issuing a statement through the team (though he does ‘get away’ with more given the language barrier).

  • Holy Ghost

    What bugs me about this is, where were McCann and the pitching coaches?

    Not that Pineda doesn’t deserve most of the blame. I’m just wondering why no one mentioned anything about concealing pine tar during warmups before the game? Are there no veteran pitchers or catchers on the team who could give Mike tips on how to be more discreet?

    After the first inning last night, it was totally obvious. It might not have been as obvious if he applied some pine tar to his fingers before the game began.

  • mustang

    Good about not appealing. I just can’t sink my teeth into this controversy.

  • nycsportzfan

    So basically, Pineda gets a 10day vacation, paid for his actions?lol Not a horrible deal for the youngster.

    • RetroRob

      To keep Pineda within a certain innings count this year and limit his starts, I suggested he be skipped in the rotation every five to six starts. So, yeah, this may not have been planned, but not the worst outcome.

  • D23

    Note catchers have been known to donned pine tar on the helmet, shin gaurds and chest protector to assist their pitchers especially in cold days. If McCann was in this, he would have put tar on his shin guards. But he probably was acting wise. Sorry Pineda deserves all the blame on this. He didn’t have anything in the first inning. Then goes out in the 2nd inning. What did you want McCann or Joe to do, call timeout and say “Son, go wipe the crap out of the neck and come back out”? If any of the Yankeeor coaches put the tar on his neck or assisted him, they should are as dumb as Pineda. Now it remains to be seen whether he can overcome this and hopefully he will.

  • Dave M

    It might take him 10 days to get all that pine tar off.