A week after being suspected of applying pine tar to his palm, Michael Pineda essentially said last night that he has washed his hands of that . . . figuratively.
"It doesn't bother me; I didn't pay attention to that," Pineda said of the mini-controversy that swirled around his April 10 start against the Red Sox. "I'm focusing on being ready every five days . . . I just focused and threw the ball good."
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In his first start since the second most famous pine tar incident at Yankee Stadium, Pineda was again stellar in a 2-0 win over the Cubs, and didn't have any visible substances on his hand.
The righthander allowed four hits and a walk and struck out three in six scoreless innings -- despite the windy, 40-degree conditions at the Stadium. He threw 57 of his 89 pitches for strikes.
"I didn't talk to him about anything allegedly on his hands," Joe Girardi said. "I told him he threw the ball extremely well and 'just get ready for your next start.' "
Pineda, last week, was spotted by TV cameras with what appeared to be a brown substance at the bottom of his right hand. He insisted it was a mixture of sweat and dirt and the Red Sox downplayed the issue. Still, social media was atwitter with suggestions the pitcher illegally gained an advantage. Major League Baseball said the following day that Pineda would not be punished.
"I think there was a little concern on my part," Girardi said of the potential pressure Pineda might have felt entering last night's game. "I haven't had him long enough to know how he responds to certain things. But I thought he handled it extremely well."
After missing the previous two seasons recovering from right shoulder surgery, Pineda has impressed through three starts. He is 2-1 with a 1.00 ERA and 0.89 WHIP.