The Yankees’ 4-1 win over the Boston Red Sox last night was overshadowed by television images that seemed to show an unidentified substance on New York starting pitcher Michael Pineda’s throwing hand.
The material was visible in Pineda’s palm in the first three innings and had been removed by the fifth inning. Pineda denied cheating, while Yankees manager Joe Girardi said during his post-game news conference he hadn’t seen the substance.
“I’m not using pine tar,” Pineda, 25, told reporters. “It’s dirt and sweat.”
While batters use pine tar to keep the bat from slipping out of their hands, it’s not allowed for use by pitchers. Major League Baseball rules state that pitchers may not apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball or have a foreign substance in their possession.
The game at Yankee Stadium was the first of 19 this season between the American League East division rivals. The Red Sox in October beat the St. Louis Cardinals to win a third World Series since 2004, while the record 27-time champion Yankees missed the playoffs for the second time in 19 seasons.
Last night’s game was the first time Pineda pitched in Yankee Stadium since he joined from the Seattle Mariners in January 2012. He missed the 2012 season and didn’t play for New York in 2013 as he recovered from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He made his debut for the team on April 5 in a 4-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Pineda got the win last night to improve to 1-1 as he gave up Boston’s only run on four hits in six innings of work.
Dean Anna hit a home run in the fifth for the Yankees (5-5), who also had run-scoring singles from Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury in the fourth and fifth innings respectively. Alfonso Soriano grounded into a double play in the fourth to allow Carlos Beltran to score the other run for the home team. Boston scored on Daniel Nava’s home run in the seventh.
The four-game series with the Red Sox (4-6) continues with Game 2 tonight and concludes April 13.