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Peralta suspended eight games for pine tar incident

Tampa Bay Rays reliever Joel Peralta was suspended eight games by MLB after being caught with pine tar in his glove on Tuesday. Peralta will appeal his suspension and thus will remain active until an appeal is heard.

"We're appealing right now, so we've got to sit tight and see,'' Peralta said. "I get to pitch tonight, and that's all I care about."

MLB rules mandate a suspension when a pitcher is found to have a foreign substance, with 10 games an established precedent as well as the minor-league standard.

"Whatever they do is going to be fair, because that's what it's going to be," Peralta said. "I'm pleased. I'm okay."

Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said beforehand the Rays were hoping there was room for flexibility. "I don't think it's that cut and dry," he said Wednesday. "Personally, I think it will be less than that, but I don't really know. It's in their hands."

Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Wednesday he considered ejection from the game enough of a punishment and that a 10-game suspension was "way too severe."

The discipline will leave the Rays shorthanded, as they have to play with a 24-man roster. To adjust for Peralta's absence, they are planning to send down a position player (likely outfielder Rich Thompson) and bring up another reliever.

Making it worse, they can't turn to their best candidate, Brandon Gomes, who was just sent back to Triple-A Durham on Monday as the rules require a player to spend 10 days in the minors after being sent down, barring an injury situation.

The leading candidates for promotion from Durham are right-handers Dane De La Rosa (0-2, 3.34, 6 saves in 26 games) and Josh Lueke (0-3, 6.98, 1 save in 20 games).

"It's going to have a great impact on us,'' Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

Admitting he was acting on inside information from Peralta's time with the Nationals, Johnson came out when Peralta entered Tuesday's game and asked the umpires to check him. Crew chief Tim Tschida said they found "a significant amount of pine tar" inside Peralta's glove "where the hand goes inside." The glove was shipped to MLB officials in New York on Wednesday for evaluation.

Former Angels reliever Brendan Donnelly was suspended 10 games in 2005 when he was caught with pine tar in his glove. Former Dodgers reliever Jay Howell was caught during the 1988 NLCS and suspended three games.

-- MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer

Posted by fpastor at 4:00:12 pm on June 21, 2012