BOSTON — New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda was suspended 10 games Thursday for his use of pine tar in the second inning of Wednesday’s Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway Park. But while the suspension closes the book on this particular situation, it hardly ends the debate over what forms of “cheating” are acceptable across Major League Baseball, and to what extent.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said after Wednesday’s game that he spoke up about Pineda having pine tar on his neck because of how blatant the pitcher was in his use of the foreign substance. Farrell reiterated before Thursday’s game that there’s a certain level of league-wide acceptance that pitchers use substances to gain a grip on the baseball and that the Pineda debacle shouldn’t result in any wholesale changes.
“I don’t think this is something that is in need of a rule change,” Farrell said Thursday. “It seemingly has worked fine for a number of years.”
Farrell said Thursday he doesn’t have an opinion as to whether 10 games for Pineda is too few or too many. Any player who pushes the envelope seemingly does so knowing the potential consequences, and the league ultimately decided that a 10-game ban fit the crime. The lingering issue, however, is whether “cheating” should be accepted across the league — even when the transgression is considered minute — and whether MLB should reconsider its stance on pitchers using pine tar and other grip-enhancing substances.
“I think there’s some things — and this being one of them — inside the game that pitchers, particularly in climates like (Wednesday), that you’re looking for some sort of grip,” Farrell said. “I think there are probably ways you can be a little bit more discreet.”
So, where is Farrell’s line between discreet and over the top?
“I think that was demonstrated (Wednesday),” Farrell said.
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