Michael Pineda is still sticking to his dirt story to explain that shiny spot on the palm of his hand during Thursday night’s brilliant start against the Red Sox. The picture above is from the first inning. Joe Torre plans on speaking to the Yankees about it, though, since the speculation was that it was pine tar to improve his grip on the ball, a foreign substance that’s supposed to be a no-no.
Pineda said he put dirt on his hand because it was sweaty. But even if it were pine tar, Pineda doesn’t have to worry about some sort of suspension coming down.
Here’s MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Joe Torre’s statement to the AP:
“The umpires did not observe an application of a foreign substance during the game and the issue was not raised by the Red Sox. Given those circumstances, there are no plans to issue a suspension, but we intend to talk to the Yankees regarding what occurred.”
(Torre did talk to Brian Cashman and Cashman said it’s now “a resolved issue.”)
Joe Girardi said he’s focusing on managing tonight’s game. “As far as the other thing, I have not heard from Joe Torre, and I’m not worried about it,” he said.
Girardi said he did speak to Pineda, but not about this situation.
“I don’t talk to pitchers about that, like, ‘Do you use or don’t you use?’ ” Girardi said. “I mean, this is not a recreational drug. So 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 guys on other teams that use it, and I just haven’t said anything. So will we talk to Michael? If we did, I wouldn’t tell you anyway.”
But if using pine tar just helps the grip but doesn’t have an impact on pitch movement, and some believe it doesn’t, should the rule be changed?
“The way we’re addressing rules now, I think we could address that and get some clarity on it,” Girardi said. “It would probably be helpful.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell said the substance was gone from Pineda’s hand for the fifth inning.
“I’m sure every pitcher does it for purposes of getting a better grip or whatever, but last night was flat-out blatant,” Shane Victorino said.
On another topic, Girardi said he expects Mark Teixeira back by May 1, but Cashman wouldn’t commit to that timetable. Cashman said Brendan Ryan wouldn’t be back this month. Ryan has been doing some light baseball activities on the way back from his back problem.
“It’s improving,” Girardi said, “but he’s still a ways away from games.”
Photo by The Associated Press.