Breaking news: Mike Pelfrey licks his hand a lot

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Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal writes that Mike Pelfrey’s “propensity for licking his hand is unrivaled in baseball.”

So naturally Costa tracked how many times Pelfrey actually licked his hand while on the mound for Tuesday’s start against the Marlins at Citi Field and the final tally was 89.

And he only pitched six innings, so Pelfrey’s pitch-to-lick ratio was 116-to-89. Pelfrey then explained himself:

It’s something I’ve always done. I think it becomes an issue where people tell me, instead of licking my hand, it looks like I’m licking my whole arm. That’s why it gets brought up. Guys have talked about, “Ahhh, you’re eating your whole hand.”

Pelfrey also explained that the added moisture helps him grip the ball and all the licking was legal, according to umpire Fieldin Culbreth, because “it is permissible for a pitcher to lick his hand as long as he wipes it on his uniform immediately afterward.”

But as rotation-mate R.A. Dickey told Costa: “Mike is a little bit over the top.”

Pirates suspend Keone Kela two games for contract violation

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On Monday, the Pirates announced the club suspended reliever Keone Kela two games for an unspecified contract violation. Kela will begin serving the suspension tonight.

Kela, 26, went on the injured list in early May with a right shoulder injury. He was on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis for the last week and a half. Prior to the injury, Kela posted a 4.63 ERA with an 11/4 K/BB ratio in 11 2/3 innings.

After sitting out Monday and Tuesday, Kela can rejoin the Pirates on Wednesday in the middle of their four-game home series against the Cardinals.