In his first spring training with the Yankees, Michael Pineda arrived out of shape and blew out his shoulder. In his second spring, he was a rehab pitcher who never got into a game. In his third spring, he had to compete for a spot in the rotation.
Now in his fourth spring training with the Yankees, Pineda took the field this morning as a healthy, active, locked-into-the-rotation starting pitcher. He threw one round of live batting practice and walked back into the clubhouse sweating and smiling.
“It’s a little different (this year),” he said. “Your head and everything is a little different because when you’re hear when you’re on rehab, you know you’re not making the team. Now, you’re a little more comfortable with your friends. About work, it’s the same because you have to work.”
Pineda threw roughly 20 pitches of live batting practice, facing hitters for the first time this spring.
“I feel like everything (with the shoulder) is in the past right now,” he said. “I feel great. I’m feeling good, feeling strong, and I’m happy with that. … Everything is good. My fastball is coming out, and my off(speed) pitches have good movement. I feel good.”
Of course, Pineda felt good last spring as well, but his shoulder went out again soon after the pine tar incident in Boston. He missed three months, returned in August and pitched to a 1.91 ERA in the final two months of the season. In those final nine starts, Pineda allowed more than two earned runs only once — and that one time came when he pitched into the eighth inning of a 5-4 Yankees win.
“I want to win,” Pineda said. “I’m working hard to be healthy all season, try to be ready every five days to put my team in a good position to win the game. That’s what I’m looking for: to help my team win.”
• As has become the routine this spring, the Yankees pitchers did the bulk of their work this morning. That’s when all the bullpens and live batting practice sessions happened. Fielding practice will be later today, but the Yankees have already seen a busy morning on the mound.
• Speaking of the pitchers, this note was added at the bottom of today’s workout schedule: Pitchers bunt in Cage #4 after mound work.
• Remember last spring when J.R. Murphy became John Ryan Murphy. Well, this year Jose Campos has become Vicente Campos. Working his way back from Tommy John, the name Vicente Campos is above his locker, and that’s the name from the Yankees press release announcing Campos had a non-roster invitation to camp. Campos said he’s not sure why he was called Jose those early years in pro ball, but he prefers Vicente.
• And speaking of Campos, he’s been throwing bullpens and said his elbow feels strong roughly a year removed from Tommy John surgery. He sounds optimistic, but obviously his prospect status has taken a hit. Amazing that the two pitchers acquired in the Jesus Montero trade each went through significant injury problems. Hard to keep pitchers healthy.
• In live batting practice, three pitchers actually threw two simulated innings: Chase Whitley, Esmil Rogers and Bryan Mitchell. Obviously all three are getting stretched out as starters who could fall into bullpen roles only if they’re not needed in the rotation.
• Handful of pitchers scheduled for early work again tomorrow, including CC Sabathia, Dellin Betances and Masahiro Tanaka.
• Today’s bullpen sessions:
Branden Pinder (to Roman Rodriguez)
Jacob Lindgren (to Juan Graterol)
David Carpenter (to Austin Romine)
Luis Severino (to Brian McCann)
Domingo German (to Roman Rodriguez)
• Live batting practice:
Facing Jonathan Galvez and Mason Williams
Wilking Rodriguez (to Kyle Higashioka)
Esmil Rogers (to Francisco Arcia)
Bryan Mitchell (to Eddy Rodriguez)
Facing Cito Culver and Nick Noonan
Chase Whitley (to John Ryan Murphy)
Danny Burawa (to Austin Romine)
Michael Pineda (to Austin Romine)
Facing Greg Bird, Jose Pirela and Tyler Austin
Tyler Webb (to Trent Garrison)
Jose De Paula (to Trent Garrison)
Chasen Shreve (to Gary Sanchez)
Jared Burdon (to Gary Sanchez)
Facing Jake Cave and Rob Refsnyder
Andrew Miller (to Brian McCann)
Kyle Davis (to Kyle Higashioka)
Chris Martin (to Kyle Higashioka)
• Infield drills:
Greg Bird, Cito Culver, Cole Figueroa, Jonathan Galvez, Nick Noonan, Rob Refsnyder, Kyle Roller
Stephen Drew, Didi Gregorius, Chase Headley, Garrett Jones, Jose Pirela, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira
• Batting practice groups:
Nick Noonan, Rob Refsnyder, Brian McCann, Eddy Rodriguez
Cito Culver, Jose Pirela, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira
Stephen Drew, Didi Gregorius, Chase Headley, Garrett Jones
Greg Bird, Cole Figueroa, Jonathan Galvez, Kyle Roller
Tyler Austin, Carlos Beltran, Jake Cave, Chris Young
Ramon Flores, Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge, Jacoby Ellsbury
Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, John Ryan Murphy, Austin Romine
Francisco Arcia, Trent Garrison, Kyle Higashioka, Gary Sanchez
Associated Press photos