Pineda not only pitcher in majors to try pine tar

The Associated Press
Baseball will look at pine tar rule after season
.

View gallery

New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda is hardly the first major leaguer to head to the mound hoping to get away with using pine tar to aid his grip.

And he won't be the last, those in baseball say, because it's simply part of the game.

He just got caught.

''It's not like somebody sits you down and says, 'Hey, dude, you should try this.' You see things,'' Washington Nationals reliever Drew Storen said. ''And being around the game, you know things that can be done.''

What stood out for many around the sport was how glaringly obvious the splotch of brown goo was on the side of Pineda's neck. It got him ejected from a game against the Boston Red Sox and drew a 10-game suspension Thursday.

''That was pretty blatant,'' Storen said. ''Wasn't really subtle.''

Hours before Washington hosted San Diego on Thursday night, a highlight package from Wednesday's major league games was shown on the videoboard at Nationals Park, and a lengthy segment poked fun at Pineda's easy-to-spot pine tar.

Padres manager Bud Black said it's ''common knowledge among baseball people'' that ''there are pitchers - and probably more than you would think - that use some sort of substance to gain tack on your fingers, because at times it is needed, based on weather conditions, based on the personal preference of a pitcher.''

Black, who pitched in the majors from 1981-95, noted it usually would be ''some minimal amount of pine tar that maybe really doesn't overly affect the outcome of a game.''

The sticky stuff is used by hitters, legally, to help make sure bats don't slip out of their hands. Pitchers use pine tar, illegally, for better holds on a ball, especially when cold weather makes it slick.

''And the option is this: I either get a grip on the ball or I'm hitting someone in the neck because I haven't got a grip on it. And if you ask the hitters, they'd say, 'Get a grip on it.' You've still got to make pitches,'' New York Mets manager Terry Collins said.

''You've got to be a little bit discreet,'' Collins continued. ''You can't just, like, walk out with a pine tar bottle. I was a little surprised when I saw the replay last night that that was quite as evident as that. But you could check every pitcher. I'm sure there would be a lot of guys that would have something.''

Indeed, that's makes skippers wary of being too eager to accuse opposing pitchers of using pine tar.

That line of thinking goes: Once I make the umpires check your pitcher, you're going to tell them to check my pitcher.

''No manager, no pitching coach, no group of pitchers wants to be checked on all the time, because there's going to be a lot more people found guilty,'' Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

San Diego's Black mentioned that some catchers apply pine tar to their shin guards so they can use it to help get better grips when they need to try to throw out a potential basestealer, for example.

Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley said players haven't asked him how to scuff a baseball or use pine tar.

But if one did, he said, ''I would try to teach him how to use a rosin bag.''

''For some reason, the rosin bag is a lost art,'' Balsley said. ''Guys don't know how to use rosin the way they used to, so perhaps they're finding something different to use.''

Maddon thinks pitchers' use of pine tar could be allowed one day.

''I do believe you're going to see some kind of remarks or issuance regarding how to deal with this in the future, more of a legalization of it,'' he said. ''It's got to be legalized at some point.''

Storen's not so sure that's a great idea, saying: ''It's kind of a can of worms if you say, 'OK, now you can doctor the baseball.'''

---

AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum in New York, and freelancers Ian Quillen in Washington and Mark Didtler in St. Petersburg, Fla., contributed to this report.

---

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.
    • McCutchen was bothered by trade talks

      McCutchen was bothered by trade talks

      Make no mistake, Andrew McCutchen is happy to still be a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. ''I do want to be here, but I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that none of this didn't bother me, that my name was out there,'' McCutchen said. McCutchen, … More »

      AP - Sports - 41 minutes ago
    • Eaton not worried about what Nationals gave up to get him

      Eaton not worried about what Nationals gave up to get him

      Until a couple of days before he was sent to the Washington Nationals, outfielder Adam Eaton had no inkling it would happen. ''I didn't expect to be traded,'' Eaton said Saturday in his first meeting with reporters since the Nationals shipped three … More »

      AP - Sports - 2 hours 55 minutes ago
    • Twins prospect Landa dies in car crash

      Twins prospect Landa dies in car crash

      Yorman Landa, a minor league pitcher for the Minnesota Twins, has died in Venezuela. The club did not say how the 22-year-old player died early Saturday, but local media reports and the player's agent cited a car accident. Landa's father was … More »

      AP - Sports - 3 hours ago
    • Former Major League pitcher becomes police officer

      ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) -- A former Major League Baseball pitcher has hung up his jersey and become a police officer. … More »

      AP - Sports - 9 hours ago
    • Friday's Sports in Brief

      The findings were handed over to the International Olympic Committee, which will be under pressure to take action against the Russians ahead of the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. ''It is impossible to know just how deep and how far … More »

      AP - Sports - 17 hours ago