Michael Pineda, Yankees starting pitcher, was ejected from Fenway Park this week after Red Sox officials noticed a suspicious substance smeared on his neck.
It happened during the second inning of Wednesday night's Yankees-Red Sox matchup in Boston when an umpire went out to the mound to inspect Pineda's neck. The pitcher was then booted from the field and the Red Sox went on to win the game 5-1.
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The incident marked the second time in a month the 25-year-old Dominican right-hander has been accused of using pine tar, an illegal substance in baseball that helps pitchers get a better grip on the ball.
Pineda later told reporters that he was not trying to cheat and was simply trying to better control his throws so as not to accidentally hit a batter.
"It was a really cold night and in the first inning I [couldn't] feel the ball," he said after the game, according to ESPN
. "I don't want to like hit anybody so I decided to use it."
Yankees officials later addressed reporters and said they were "embarrassed."
"I think we're all embarrassed," general manager Brian Cashman said. "We as a group are embarrassed that this has taken place. I think Michael is embarrassed."
"We certainly are responsible, and there's certainly failure on our part as an organization as a whole that he took the field in the second inning with that on his neck," he continued. "He's responsible for his actions, but we failed as an organization for somehow him being in that position. I don't know how, none of us know right now, we're scratching our head right now, how that took place."
According to ESPN, any use of a foreign substance is a violation of Major League Baseball rule 8.02. There is reportedly no set punishment for an infraction, but Pineda will likely be suspended eight to 10 games.
"He's a young kid," Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters. "I don't think he's trying to do anything to cheat, I think he's trying to just go out there and compete. He used bad judgment tonight. He'll admit to that."
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