Controversy clouds last nights Yankees victory

Michael Pineda

There’s no denying Michael Pineda pitched a brilliant game against the Boston Red Sox last night and he surely deserved the win, but Pineda’s performance was overshadowed by one glaring topic: what was on Pineda’s hand during his outing?

It was brought to the attention of viewers and social media in the third inning by Red Sox T.V. station NESN.  Red Sox manager John Farrell said he didn’t notice anything until the fifth inning but by then Pineda’s hand didn’t have the substance. Joe Girardi was asked about it during last night’s press conference and it appeared he knew what the substance was. He was asked if he knew Pineda had the substance on his wrist but all Girardi said was he never saw it.

“I never saw it,” Girardi said. “There’s nothing really for me to talk about.”

It was then brought to the attention of Michael Pineda following his start and Pineda said it was simply dirt.

“I don’t use pine tar,” Pineda said. “It’s dirt. I’m sweating on my hand too much in between innings. … I usually put the dirt between innings when my hand gets sweaty.”

It would seem like a controversial topic, but if you asked inside the Red Sox clubhouse, many of the players defended Pineda’s use of pine tar, ranging from David Ortiz to Dustin Pedroia.

I thought he was great.” Pedroia said,  “Like I said, I have pine tar on my bat. That’s a non-issue. I thought he was better than us tonight. … I didn’t see it. I thought he had great stuff. His heater was good, his slider; we were a little late on his fastball, and out in front of his offspeed, so he did a great job.”

“Everybody uses pine tar in the league,” Ortiz said, “It’s not a big deal. “I don’t pay any attention to it. Did he have a lot of pine tar? I didn’t get to see it. What can I tell you, I don’t know what pine tar does to the baseball – maybe better grip. Better be careful (laughs). But his velocity and his slider was good tonight. That’s all I can tell you. His pitching was good.”

Even if the Red Sox wanted to do something about the pine tar on Pineda’s wrist, they couldn’t. The crew chief of last night’s game Brian O’Nora said since the Red Sox never bought it to his attention, nothing could be done.

“That was never brought to our attention, either. … No one said a word. … I can’t comment on it because we’re on the field, and the Red Sox didn’t bring it to our attention, so there’s nothing we can do about it.” O’Nora said, “If they bring it to our attention then you’ve got to do something, but they didn’t bring it to our attention.”

At the end of the day, its a closed case and it will forever be a mystery as to what was actually on Pineda’s hand. If the Red Sox had no problem with it, that makes it a non issue, and we can finally move on and focus on tonight’s game.

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