Posted Date: April 24, 2014

Rangers’ Martin Perez in rare company with back-to-back shutouts

Martin Perez, Texas Rangers
Martin Perez

Martin Perez shut out the A’s on Wednesday and has now thrown 26 consecutive scoreless innings. (Ben Margot/AP)

The Rangers entered this season with their rotation in tatters due to injuries, but they enter play on Thursday with the AL’s best record at 14-8. That’s thanks largely to the work of 23-year-old lefty Martin Perez, who is 4-0 with a 1.42 ERA and, more impressively, has not allowed a run in his last three starts.

His most recent gem came on Wednesday when he shut out the A’s in Oakland. In doing so, Perez became the first pitcher to toss back-to-back complete game shutouts since Cole Hamels in August 2012, and the first AL pitcher to do it since teammate Derek Holland in July 2011. Furthermore, he joins a very short list of pitchers to string together two shutouts while allowing three hits or fewer during the post-1992 expansion era:

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Posted Date: April 24, 2014

In wake of Michael Pineda ejection, MLB should legalize pine tar for pitchers

Michael Pineda
Michael Pineda, Derek Jeter and Gerry Davis

Pine tar was clearly visible on Michael Pineda’s neck during the second inning of his start on Wednesday. (Elise Amendola/AP)

Michael Pineda’s ejection from Wednesday night’s Yankees-Red Sox game for having pine tar on his neck has presented Major League Baseball with an opportunity. It has become clear that the official rules concerning exactly what a pitcher is legally allowed to apply to his fingers in order to improve his grip on the ball are out of step with commonly accepted practices within the game. Given the volume of debate about those rules in the wake of Pineda’s use of pine tar in his last two starts against Boston, this could be a flashpoint for those rules to finally be brought up to date.

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Posted Date: April 24, 2014

Possible loss of Michael Pineda to suspension could cause problems for Yanks

Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees
Michael Pineda (left) could face a lengthy suspension after being caught with pine tar following an earlier incident. (Elise Amendola)

Michael Pineda (left) could face a lengthy suspension after being caught with pine tar following an earlier incident. (Elise Amendola)

For two years, the Yankees could only wonder what they had in Michael Pineda. They had acquired him in a trade with the Mariners before the 2012 season but had yet to see him pitch in pinstripes, as shoulder injuries sidelined the young Dominican righthander who had shown so much promise with Seattle in his All-Star rookie season of 2011.

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Posted Date: April 23, 2014

Yankees’ Michael Pineda ejected against Red Sox for foreign substance on neck

Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees
MIchael Pineda was tossed after being inspected for a foreign substance on his neck. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Michael Pineda was tossed after being inspected for a foreign substance on his neck. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Yankees righthander Michael Pineda was ejected from Wednesday’s game against the Red Sox for using a foreign substance. The decision by the umpires came after Boston manager John Farrell asked them to check Pineda, who had what appeared to be pine tar on his neck. Pineda was tossed in the second inning while trailing 2-0.

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Posted Date: April 23, 2014

Sammy Sosa’s exclusion from Wrigley Field centennial lessens the occasion

Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field
Sammy Sosa wasn't a part of the Cubs' 100th anniversary celebration at Wrigley Field. (Getty Images)

Sammy Sosa wasn’t a part of the Cubs’ 100th anniversary celebration at Wrigley Field. (Getty Images)

Wednesday’s Cubs-Diamondbacks game was preceded by festivities celebrating the centennial of Wrigley Field, which opened under the name Weeghman Park exactly 100 years ago for a game between the Federal League’s Chicago Chi-Feds and Kansas City Packers. A group of notable former Cubs was on hand, but beyond the four Hall of Famers in attendance, one absence was particularly glaring: The franchise’s all-time home run leader, Sammy Sosa, who reportedly wasn’t even invited to the celebration. Apparently, there’s a limit to how friendly the Friendly Confines can get.

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