Michael Pineda was ejected from tonight's game against the Red Sox after it was determined that he was using a foreign substance, assumed to be pine tar, on his neck in the second inning. Pineda struggled in the first inning, throwing 28 pitches to begin the game and returned in the second inning with a brown substance smeared on the right side of his neck.
After having pine tar on his hand two weeks ago, Michael Pineda had it on his neck tonight - and got ejected: pic.twitter.com/SEUxPH02kB— SB Nation (@SBNation) April 23, 2014
Seeing the VERY visible smear, Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell complained to home plate umpire Gerry Davis. The umpires went out to the mound, inspected his glove, hands, and uniform, until finally coming across the smudge on his neck. Upon determining it was pine tar, Davis tossed him from the game without protest from Pineda, Joe Girardi, or anyone from the Yankees dugout. David Phelps replaced Pineda on the mound.
This is the second time that Michael Pineda has been connected to pine tar in 2014. In his second start of the season, also against the Red Sox, cameras showed the big right-hander had some kind of foreign substance on the palm of his pitching hand. When asked about it after the game, he claimed that it was dirt mixed with sweat. John Farrell acknowledged he knew about it and just preferred that he keep it subtle.
The use of pine tar isn't really that bad. Many pitchers use some kind of foreign substance to get a better grip on the ball, especially when it's cold out, like it was tonight. What people have said about Pineda's usage of it is that it's way too obvious. As Al Leiter and David Cone said after the incident, they both applied it to their belt. Hopefully next outing, if Pineda feels he's not gripping the ball correctly, he does something intelligently and hides the substance he's using on his belt, hat or glove.