Baseball Report – April 28

April 28, 2014

Baseball Report – April 28

By Bob Hurst

Pitchers over the years have gone to great lengths to hide oily, greasy or sticky substances that they could apply to the ball to give them an advantage. Gaylord Perry was one of the best, touching various parts of his uniform and cap to grab hold of a substance, but not getting suspended for it until late in his career.

New York Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda took a different tact on Wednesday.

Pineda had a patch of pine tar on his neck that was obviously visible to television cameras and Boston manager John Farrell, who complained about it in the second inning at Fenway Park.

Home plate umpire and crew chief Gerry Davis ejected Pineda for using a foreign substance on the baseball, a violation of rule 8.02.

“I don’t think he’s trying to do anything to cheat, I think he’s trying to just go out there and compete,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He used bad judgment tonight.”

Pineda also came under scrutiny in his start at New York on April 10, with allegations that he had pine tar on his pitching hand.

“I think we’re all embarrassed,” Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said.

After initially telling reporters that it was dirt that had gotten stuck to his hand, Pineda admitted to using the pine tar on Wednesday night, saying he did it because of the cold weather.

“I (couldn’t) feel the ball,” Pineda said. “I don’t want to like hit anybody, so I decided to use it.”

Pineda likely faces a suspension. The last pitcher to be ejected and suspended for using pine tar was Tampa Bay’s Joel Peralta, who was suspended eight games in 2012. He hid pine tar in his glove in a game against Washington.

Cubs’ 100th anniversary game goes awry: It was almost as if the Chicago Cubs wanted to show fans a little bit about their history in Wednesday’s 100-year anniversary of Wrigley Field.

The Cubs blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning to lose 7-5 to Arizona.

After an error by shortstop Starlin Castro, the Diamondbacks scored five runs in the top of the ninth, with Aaron Hill’s two-run triple giving them the lead. Earlier in the inning, Martin Prado hit a grounder that caromed off second base into right field, bringing in two runs to make it 5-4.

It wasn’t a playoff game, but it was a little reminiscent of the Cubs debacle in the 2003 NLCS against Florida. In that contest, Chicago led 3-0 going into the eighth inning, but allowed eight runs in the inning for an 8-3 loss, then fell in Game 7 against the Marlins.

“It seemed like the inning kept opening up, and we weren’t able to end up in the end putting a stop to it,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said.

It wasn’t all gloomy for the Cubs and their fans. The team wore Federals’ uniforms, as they did in the first game at Wrigley on April 23, 1914, a 9-1 Federal League win over the Kansas City Packers.

Former Cubs’ stars Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins and Andre Dawson participated in pregame festivities that also included former Chicago Bears’ Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers, who played football at Wrigley Field. And fans sang “Happy Birthday” in the middle of the fifth inning.

When the fans from an under-capacity crowd of 32,323 streamed for the exits, they were left with only hope of better things ahead for the last-place Cubs.

StatsWatch: Albert Pujols hit the 500th home run of his career on Tuesday night in the Los Angeles Angels’ 7-2 win over Washington. Here’s a list of teams that Pujols has hit the most homers against:

Cubs, 56 HR
Pirates, 49
Reds, 46
Brewers, 42
Astros, 42
Expos/Nationals, 24
Mets, 22
Rockies, 20
Padres, 20
Braves, 18
Royals, 18
Dodgers, 17
Diamondbacks, 17
Giants, 15
Marlins, 15

Diamond Notes: Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw (back) began a rehabilitation assignment on Friday night at Class A Rancho Cucamonga…Arizona OF Mark Trumbo has a stress fracture in his left foot and will be out indefinitely…Padres right-hander Josh Johnsonhad Tommy John surgery this week to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. Johnson also had the surgery in 2007 when he was with Florida…The Pirates placed closer Jason Grilli on the DL with a left oblique strain and catcher Russell Martin on the DL with a strained left hamstring.

Copyright © 2014 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.