Major League Baseball suspended Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda for 10 games Thursday for “possessing a foreign substance on his person” during Wednesday night’s game against the Red Sox.
Pineda will be paid during the suspension. He had the right to appeal but elected to start serving the suspension Thursday.
“I accept it,’’ Pineda said before the teams played again at Fenway Park. “I know I made a mistake. I feel bad.”
Because the Yankees are off on Monday, they can manipulate their rotation so only one start needs to be made by another pitcher while Pineda is out. That start is likely to go to David Phelps.
Pineda smeared pine tar on his neck before the second inning on Wednesday. After he got two outs, Red Sox manager John Farrell asked umpires to check the righthander, and Pineda was ejected after a brief inspection.
Television cameras caught Pineda with pine tar on the palm of his right hand during a start against the Red Sox April 10. Farrell did not complain then but MLB issued a statement the next day saying the issue was discussed with the Yankees.
Many pitchers use pine tar to improve their grip on the ball, especially on cold nights. The sticky substance, literally a boiled-down pine product, is typically used by hitters to improve their grip on a new bat.
The punishment was in line with similar transgressions in recent seasons. Tampa Bay’s Joel Peralta received an eight-game suspension in 2012 when he was found to have pine tar on his glove.
Farrell had little to say about Thursday’s announcement.
“No reaction if it was too few [games] or too many, nothing in terms of that,” he said. “I think when a player goes down that path, you’re assuming the potential consequences.”
On Wednesday, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman shot down the notion that his team would seek retribution against the Red Sox, saying that Pineda was at fault.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi agreed.
“I think John Farrell was put in a tough spot. He was put in a tough spot a couple of weeks ago,” Girardi said. “So I have no ill will towards John. If they feel it’s that obvious, I mean, they have to do something.”
Although several Red Sox pitchers freely admit to using pine tar, sunscreen, or other substances to improve their grip, Farrell said he would not address the matter with his team.
Nor does Farrell believe MLB needs to change its rule against foreign substances.
“There are probably ways you can be a little bit more discreet,” he said. “I don’t think this is something that is in need of a rule change. It seemingly has worked fine for a number of years.”
Third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who has been on the disabled list since April 5 with a strained right calf, played his third game for Triple A Pawtucket on Thursday. He was 0 for 4 but twice hit the ball well to the opposite field.
Middlebrooks returned to Fenway and traveled with the team to Toronto after the game.
“Swung the bat better,” Farrell said. “He did physically fine. We expect him to join us this weekend.”
Middlebrooks was 0 for 10 in his minor league stint. He was 3 for 13 with a double and a home run in four games before he was injured.
Middlebrooks is a career .326 hitter in 11 games at Toronto’s Rogers Centre, with four doubles and four home runs.
Brock Holt has started the last seven games at third base and played well. Through Wednesday he was 8 for 20 with 4 RBIs, 3 walks, and 3 runs.
“When he came to us, we hoped he would spark the bottom of the order and he’s done exactly that,” Farrell said. “He’s given us a jolt in the arm. We’ll see where things go from here.”
The Red Sox went with Jonathan Herrera as their utility infielder out of spring training because he was a better defender at shortstop than Holt.
Farrell suggested that evaluation hasn’t changed. But Holt has raised his status in the organization this season. He played only 26 games in the majors last season.
Jonny Gomes wore a stars-and-stripes suit jacket when the Red Sox visited the White House April 1. He had the jacket signed by all of his teammates and is now auctioning it off to benefit the Travis Roy Foundation.
The online auction — at auctions.mlb.com — closes on May 4.
Gomes is working with the Roy Foundation to improve the lives of people with spinal cord injuries with an emphasis on providing specialized wheelchairs for paralympic athletes.
Luke Farrell, the son of the Red Sox manager, started for Single A Lexington (Royals) against Greenville in a South Atlantic League game Thursday. Bo Greenwell, the son of former Red Sox player Mike Greenwell, homered twice off of Farrell.
Farrell allowed four runs on five hits over four innings.
The Red Sox also promoted 2012 supplemental first-round pick Pat Light from Greenville to High Single A Salem. The righthander was 2-0 with a 4.15 ERA in three starts at Salem.
Light started for Salem on Thursday against Lynchburg and allowed four runs on seven hits over 3⅔ innings.
Lefthander Trey Ball, the seventh overall pick of the 2013 draft, was added to the Greenville roster. The 19-year-old was in extended spring training.
Tip of the puck
The silver medal-winning US women’s Olympic hockey team was recognized before the game and captain Meghan Duggan, a Danvers native, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Duggan did a fine impersonation of Pineda by touching her neck before firing a strike to the plate. The crowd, and her teammates, loved it . . . The Yankees made a series of roster moves before the game. Righthanders Bruce Billings and Shane Greene were called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Infielder Dean Anna and righthander Preston Claiborne were optioned to Triple A. The Yankees also moved righthander Ivan Nova to the 60-day disabled list. He has a torn elbow ligament and will be undergoing Tommy John surgery . . . Girardi said he would not be disciplined by MLB for shoving an unmanned ESPN camera on Wednesday when it was spun to get a shot of a distraught Pineda in the dugout runway. “I’m fine with MLB; MLB’s fine with me,” Girardi said. “I have an issue, though, with going down into the tunnel. I think that’s flat wrong. It’s meant for the dugout. I know everyone wants access but there has to be some areas that we can go where we can actually communicate with players that there’s not a microphone hearing us or a camera watching lips.”Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.