Pineda ejected for pine tar on neck

That night, Farrell did not lodge a complaint and umpires did not punish Pineda, and in fact, several Red Sox shrugged off the incident as common practice by major league pitchers in order to improve their grip on the baseball.

But Wednesday night's transgression was apparently so blatant that it left Farrell with no other choice.

"Listen, I would want our manager to do what John Farrell did," Cashman said. "Obviously this is a terrible situation that we all witnessed and we're all a part of and we all have ownership to because there was clearly a failure and a breakdown that he wound up walking out of that dugout with something like that. It's just not a good situation."

After the last incident, former Yankees manager Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice-president of baseball operations, met with Cashman to discuss the issue. Cashman has refused to comment on the nature of the discussion but said that the message had been passed on to Pineda.

"There have been enough conversations," Cashman said. "And obviously there will be more now, and there have already been more now, even in-game when he was ejected from the game. I think after the last go-around with the same team, clearly there were a lot of conversations about this. There are no secrets there."

Pitching coach Larry Rothschild confirmed that he, too, had spoken with Pineda, but raised the possibility that the pitcher, whose English is less than perfect, might not have fully understood the ramifications of being caught using pine tar on the ball.

"It's one of those things where I'm not sure he understood what the penalties were, even though I had told him what could happen," Rothschild said. "I think in his mind, he needed to grip the baseball. When it's cold out, and windy, those balls are like cue balls, and it makes it really tough. Look, he's not doing anything to try to change things and get a hitter out -- scuffing the ball, using Vaseline or anything like that. It was strictly what he said, and that's trying to get a better grip on the baseball."

Pineda, who appeared near tears in the Yankees' clubhouse, said he had apologized to his teammates after the game, in which Girardi had to use four relief pitchers.

"I know I made a mistake today, and I feel so sad," Pineda said. "I learn from this mistake. It won't happen again."

The strong possibility that Pineda will be suspended puts the already-pitching-depleted Yankees in a further bind. This week, they lost starter Ivan Nova to a torn elbow ligament that is likely to require Tommy John surgery. They have had to insert Vidal Nuno into the rotation in his place. The loss of Pineda, even for a start or two, would force Girardi to find another starting pitcher on short notice.

"I'm not going to get mad at him," Girardi said. "The kid's doing the best he can, he's trying to compete. He feels bad, he feels like he let his teammates down. But as I said to Michael, 'Hey, this is a little bump, we'll get through this, we'll find a way to get through this and you'll be back pitching before you know it.'"

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