BOSTON -- Michael, Michael, Michael . . . Will you never learn?
Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda was ejected from Wednesday night's game against the Red Sox in the bottom of the second inning when he was caught with an illegal substance -- on his neck of all places.
Grady Sizemore was at the plate with a 2-1 count when John Farrell emerged from the dugout to get the attention of home plate umpire and crew chief Gerry Davis. After a brief conversation, Davis and the rest of his crew headed toward the mound to investigate Farrell's claim that Pineda was using a foreign substance.
It didn't take long for the glob of gunk -- which appeared to be pine tar -- discovered on Pineda's neck. After Davis rubbed his finger through the sticky substance, he pointed to the Yankees dugout, effectively tossing Pineda from the game.
On April 10, Pineda went to the mound against the Red Sox with a similarly-colored substance blatantly smudged on the palm of his throwing hand. The Red Sox never pointed it out to umpires at the time. However, when asked on Wednesday afternoon if the Red Sox were concerned Pineda might try something similar in his latest start, Farrell hinted at what might happen.
"I would expect that if it's used," Farrell said, "it's more discreet than the last time."
Pineda had nothing on his hand or on his neck when he pitched in the first inning. And maybe he should have. The pitcher who had a 1.00 ERA in three starts this season allowed four hits and two earned runs on 29 pitches.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi called upon David Phelps to relieve Pineda and he struck out Sizemore with one pitch.
The MLB rule book suggests that for an offense of this kind, Pineda could face an automatic 10-game suspension.
According to rule 8.02, which can be found on MLB.com, "The pitcher shall not . . . apply a foreign substance to the ball." The rule says that the offending pitcher "shall be ejected immediately from the game and suspended automatically. In National Association Leagues, the automatic suspension shall be for 10 games."
Pineda will not be automatically suspended for 10 games. (The 10-game rule applies only to the minor leagues.) Pineda will be suspended, but the length of the suspension will be up to the commissioner's office.
MLB's Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Joe Torre released a statement after Pineda's previous outing against the Red Sox when it was clear he had a banned substance on the mound.
"The umpires did not observe an application of a foreign substance during the game and the issue was not raised by the Red Sox," Torre's statement read. "Given those circumstances, there are no plans to issue a suspension, but we intend to talk to the Yankees regarding what occurred."
Pitchers Joel Peralta (8 games) and Brendan Donnelly (10 games) have been suspended for using foreign substances in the past.