WASHINGTON (AP) — Tampa Bay reliever Joel Peralta was suspended for eight games by Major League Baseball on Thursday for having pine tar on his glove.
Peralta has appealed, and can continue to play until the process is complete. The Rays were at Washington on Thursday night.
Peralta was ejected from Tuesday night's game in Washington after umpires found pine tar on his mitt.
The incident led to a verbal spat between managers Joe Maddon of the Rays and Davey Johnson of the Nationals.
"I just know that we're appealing right now so I've got to sit tight and see," Peralta said. "I'm allowed to pitch today and that's all I care about right now."
Peralta, who pitched for the Nationals during the 2010 season, said his former teammates approached him before Wednesday's game and were supportive. He didn't suspect that they turned him in.
"I knew it wasn't them," Peralta said. "I knew when they did it was not coming from the players. That made me feel good. I know they like me."
He said he didn't know Johnson.
"I don't know why he did it," Peralta said. "I would like to know, but I'm not gonna ask that."
Maddon feels the suspension is excessive.
"Of course it's too much, and of course it's unfair, but that's the way they came down with it and it's going to be up to them to try and manipulate it," Maddon said.
Johnson declined to comment on the suspension, which Peralta is hoping to have reduced.
"First time it's ever happened to me. I don't know what to think. I don't know what to expect," Peralta said. "It feels a little relief to know at least what it's going to be."
After Tuesday's game, Maddon denounced Johnson's actions as cowardly and bogus.
Johnson retorted that Maddon should "read the rule book" and that he was "a weird wuss."
During the 1988 National League championship series, Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Jay Howell was suspended for three games after being caught using pine tar, which is sticky and improves the tackiness of the glove. The suspension was reduced by a game by appeal. In that series, Johnson was the manager of the Dodgers' opponent, the New York Mets.