A Substantive Performance: Did New York Yankees Pitcher Michael Pineda Use Pine Tar?

The New York Yankees beat the defending World Series champions Boston Red Sox 4-1, but everyone is talking about Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda. It is not because he won his first game since July 2011. Instead, people are talking about the substance on his pitching hand.

Dirt or pine tar?

"I don't use pine tar," he said. "It's dirt. I'm sweating on my hand too much in between innings."

The TV announcers and Twitter noticed it during the game, but the Red Sox did not notice it until the fourth inning. When Pineda came out for the fifth his hand appeared spotless and that is why Red Sox manager John Farrell did not tell the umpire crew.

"No one said a word," umpiring crew chief Brian O'Nora said. "The Red Sox didn't bring it to our attention, so there's nothing we can do about it."

Added Farrell: "Again, a foreign substance is illegal, but by the time we became aware of it, it was gone."

Pine tar is illegal and the rule states the pitcher cannot apply anything to the ball. If they do the pitcher is ejected and suspended. However, losing pitcher Clay Buchholz strangely sympathizes with Pineda more than most. Does he object?

"No, especially on cold windy nights, it's tough to get a grip on the baseball," Buchholz said. "I had that instance last year in Toronto, people said I had stuff all over my body you can use -- rosin, water, the whole sunscreen stuff, whatever. I'd rather have a grip on the baseball and semi-know where it's going [than] have no grip and get somebody hurt.

"As hard as [Pineda] was throwing early, ain't no one want to get hit, especially around the head. I don't think any organization would want to do anything about it. Scuffing the ball is one thing, if you're actually creating more control over where you want to throw it, giving you any type of edge. But as long as I've been around, I haven't seen sticky substance give anyone an edge. If it gives them an edge, that's another thing."

David Ortiz said everyone uses pine tar and David Ross does not see it as cheating since pitchers are just trying to get a grip on the ball in cold weather.


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