WASHINGTON – David Price pitched seven strong innings. Carlos Pena hit a two-run homer and the Tampa Bay Rays lead the Washington Nationals 5-4 heading into the eighth inning. Rays manager Joe Madden had his bullpen set up perfectly. Joel Peralta would pitch the eighth and closer Fernando Rodney would close out the ninth. But something strange happened along the way.
Peralta was ejected from Tuesday’s game against the Washington Nationals before even throwing a pitch. Nationals Manager Davey Johnson alerted an umpire before the reliever pitched to pinch-hitter Steve Lombardozzi and asked for the umpires to check the glove of Peralta. The game was stopped and the umpiring crew converged on the mound to check Peralta’s glove. The glove was confiscated and Peralta was ejected. Left-handed reliever Jake McGee came on in relief instead. Fernando Rodney came on in the ninth to preserve the victory.
Crew chief Tim Tschida said Peralta was removed from the game because of a “foreign substance on or in” the glove. Umpires later said that a significant amount of pine tar was found on the glove. After the game, Johnson told the media that word was traveling in the locker room that “he liked a little pine tar. “”Well, he pitched here,” Johnson said. “Guys said stuff before the game.”
Peralta appeared in 39 games, pitching 49 innings, with a 2.02 ERA for the Nationals in 2010. Earlier that season, Peralta appeared in 28 games for Class AAA Syracuse, where his manager was current Nationals first base coach Trent Jewett. Peralta said he didn’t know who would have ratted him out. As he left the field, as he left the field Peralta tipped his hat. Towards a Washington dugout, and said after the game, “good for them we won the game”
Rays Notes : Tampa Bay will place RHP Jeremy Hellickson on the 15-day DL and recall RHP Chris Archer from Triple-A Durham to start his major league debut Wednesday.