Michael Pineda suspended 10 games for “foreign substance”

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As expected, Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda has been suspended 10 games by MLB after being ejected from last night’s start against the Red Sox for “possessing a foreign substance on his person.”

Or, put another way: For being super obvious about having a bunch of pine tar on his neck.

Because of the way the Yankees’ rotation and schedule sets up, they should be able to get by with Pineda missing only one actual start during the 10-game suspension. And it’s also possible that he could appeal and perhaps have the suspension reduced.

Craig Calcaterra argues that the lack of outrage from fans and media members seems very inconsistent in Pineda’s case, especially relative to the reaction to other forms of cheating in baseball, whereas Joe Posnanski suggests that The Obviousness Factor plays a big part. Either way, he’ll miss one start and all eyes will be on Pineda when he takes the mound again in a couple weeks.

Astros greeted with boos in first spring training game

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The Astros and Nationals share a spring training facility, so it was only natural that they would open Grapefruit League play together. The Astros were the home team. Here’s the lineup they rolled out.

Teams typically include at least a few regulars in their spring training lineups as a courtesy to the fans, who are spending money to see big league players play baseball. This is especially the case for home games. However, the Astros have decided to roll out a lineup with a combined 323 MLB plate appearances.

There might be a reason for that. Houston was lustily booed as they took the field. This was after running a video on the scoreboard celebrating their 2019 AL championship.

That’s all with the team that beat them in the World Series (and is widely regarded as baseball’s current heroes for beating the big bad cheating Astros) in the other dugout, of course. Nationals starter Max Scherzer has not thrown at any Houston player, and the game is now in a rain delay. But it seems like the Astros decided to spare their players from some possible rough treatment, both from fans and opposing pitchers.

The same could not be said for Astros mascot Orbit, who was also booed.

One can quibble with the merits of booing a bunch of players who have barely touched the big leagues because you’re mad at Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, but sports fandom is something of an irrational business. Fans are going to want their pound of flesh, especially when they paid for the right to be in the ballpark and give the Astros a piece of their mind. Some of them even brought props! This is just how it all works, unfortunately. If you’re in an Astros uniform, you’re probably going to get booed.

Welcome to the 2020 season, Astros. It’s probably going to be like this all year.

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