NEW YORK (WFAN) — Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda was suspended 10 games by Major League Baseball on Thursday for using pine tar in Wednesday night’s game against the Red Sox.
The hurler had the sticky substance on his neck, and it caught the eye of Red Sox manager John Farrell. The 25-year-old was quickly tossed from the game.
Pitchers may use pine tar more than fans think, but former Mets great Doc Gooden — who says he never doctored the baseball during his playing days — believes that pine-tar use by pitchers should remained banned. He even went as far as to compare pine tar to steroids in regard to performance enhancement.
“I wouldn’t allow it, and I was a pitcher,” the two-time strikeout champion told WFAN co-hosts Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on Friday. “I’m all for pitchers, I’m all for the 2-1 ballgames. I love to see pitchers dominate. But it’s illegal. It’s in the rulebooks. You can’t use that substance … But as far as pitchers, it gives them an advantage. And to me, even to a lower standard, it’s really no different than a hitter using steroids.
“…Professional pitchers, they’re already very talented. They’re the best in the world at what they do. And now you give them a substance that helps make that even better — it’s a disadvantage to the hitters the same way it would be with steroids to the pitchers, but to a different level.”
The four-time All-Star also isn’t buying that Pineda was simply using pine tar for control purposes on a cold night in Boston. And if he was, well, he’s probably the first pitcher ever to do so for solely that reason.
“I don’t really know the kid,” Gooden told Joe & Evan. “Anything is possible. But if it was just for grip with him, we’ll just say he’s one of — I don’t know how many pitchers pitched in the big leagues — but he’s that one out of whatever. You still had your pitching coach there who pays attention to your pitchers … It’s the pitching coach’s duty to pay attention to these things and watch them.”
So how exactly does pine tar give pitchers an edge?
“It’s definitely used for movement,” the 1985 National League Cy Young Award winner told the radio duo. “It gives you a better grip to snap the curveball, makes it sharper than it would if you’re not using pine tar. Same thing with the slider, forkball (and) sinker as well, because it gives you a better grip. I know a lot’s been said about guys saying they use it to help them with control when the weather is cold.
“…That’s totally false. Professional pitchers, there’s a lot of ways you can (stay warm and maintain control) … It’s definitely used to get a sharper break on all your offspeed pitches, without a doubt.”
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