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“I’m the same Michael Pineda”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Feb 17, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Michael Pineda, Joe Girardi, Larry Rothschild

Before David Phelps faced hitters on the main field. Before Brian Roberts settled into his new locker. Before a van loaded with young pitchers made its way to the minor league complex for multiple rounds of batting practice. This Monday at Steinbrenner Field started with Michael Pineda throwing an early morning bullpen. No radar gun. No hitters in the box. Just a guy making his pitches sharper, getting his shoulder a little stronger, and giving the Yankees legitimate hope that they’re finally going to see him in New York.

“I thought the ball was coming out easier (than in previous years),” manager Joe Girardi said. “I know he’s had time to clean up a couple things too, mechanically, in this two-year span. He just looked like it came out free and easy to me. Didn’t look like he put a ton of effort into it, or that he was overthrowing it. … To me, it looked different than what I saw a couple years ago when he got hurt and was pitching in games. I’m anxious to see him obviously get in some games in the next 12 days or so.”

Pineda remains a curiosity around here. Girardi said his reports had Pineda hitting 93-94 mph with his fastball last season, but Pineda said he honestly has no idea how hard he’s throwing this spring. He feels strong. He feels like he’s throwing hard. But this isn’t a time for trying to hit big numbers on the radar gun.

“I’m feeling so strong. I’m feeling good power,” Pineda said. “… I’m throwing the same (as before the shoulder surgery). Mechanics the same. Everything is the same. All pitches are the same. I’m the same Michael Pineda.”

The same Michael Pineda. The Yankees would certainly like to hope so. When they traded for Pineda in January of 2012, they believed they were swapping an elite young hitter for an elite young pitcher. Pineda wasn’t a finished product, but his rookie year in Seattle had been encouraging. He threw hard with a promising slider, and he came to camp with a spot in the big league rotation.

But the arm strength wasn’t there, the spring results were sloppy, and eventually Pineda was complaining of shoulder soreness. He had surgery, spent the year rehabbing, and returned to the minor leagues last year to knock off the rust and finished off the rehabilitation. Now he’s in camp with an eye on a big league job again.

“:I’m happy because I’m going to make the team and help my team pitching in New York,” Pineda said.

The Yankees, of course, have not declared Pineda the favorite for the fifth-starter job — and you could make the case that David Phelps is the favorite considering he’s actually spent the past two years in the big leagues — but certainly Pineda is getting the most attention of all the fifth-starter candidates. He’s a big guy, with big potential, and he was part of a big trade. Attention and expectation come with the territory.

“We believe he’s healthy,” Girardi said. “But I still think you have to pay attention to it. You have to pay attention to all the signs that could be exhibited from not pitching, really, for two years. At times, maybe he needs an extra day or something, which won’t be a concern if it’s one extra day or two extra days. But he had a significant surgery, and you have to pay attention to it.”

Pineda said he feels no pain. He’s worked to clean up his mechanics to make sure his shoulder doesn’t regress and he doesn’t end up back on the disabled list. He’s gone through the long, exhausting rehab process.

“I’m throwing the ball good last year,” Pineda said. “But I don’t take a vacation last year. I’m doing all winter program, program, program, to make sure I don’t go back. Now everything is doing good, and I’m happy about that.”

Associated Press photo

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33 Responses to ““I’m the same Michael Pineda””

  1. Russell Munson February 17th, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    I’m excited about Pineda.

  2. Mike Ri February 17th, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Pineda is a beast !

  3. raustin714 February 17th, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Pineda was traded to the Yankees in January of 2012, not 2011.

  4. Chad Jennings February 17th, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    raustin714 February 17th, 2014 at 2:17 pm e

    Pineda was traded to the Yankees in January of 2012, not 2011.

    Maybe it only feels like it was three years ago!

  5. blake February 17th, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    who is Michael Pineda? That’s my take until he is healthy and heading north with the team as a member of the rotation and is throwing 93-96 mph with his fastball. I’m not getting my hopes up only for them to be dashed……

    btw…..I’m assuming Roberts made it through today unscathed? Victory.

  6. Jerkface February 17th, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    This is a much more interesting spring training than last year, a lot to look at including Pineda.

  7. Patrick February 17th, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    This is a much more interesting spring training than last year, a lot to look at including Pineda.

    Uhh Kevin Youkilis, Travis Hafner, Vernon Wells were at spring training last year .. so interesting

  8. Jerkface February 17th, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Of course we can’t know anything about Pineda until we see him with the radar guns. I said that Pineda making the team would be more interesting from a viewer perspective for me personally, because it would make those games must watch. I love watching guys like Kuroda, CC, Andy Pettitte, etc, but they aren’t MUST SEE TV for me. I will watch every Yankee game just because, but seeing the unknowns here like Tanaka and Pineda give me more to think about during the game. Assuming Pineda breaks with the team the Nova, Pineda, and Tanaka starts are going to be the ones I will try 100% to catch live and with my full focus.

    On the other hand, I don’t think Pineda making the team is really in either of their best interests. He really should build up his innings and get stronger before pitching a full season. And no bull pen please.

  9. Ys Guy February 17th, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    If 6 of the starters come out of camp healthy and throwing well, using a 6 man rotation to start the season makes so much sense. In the past, there were usually a couple of off-days early but this year there aren’t any so it would be very similar to a normal 5-man rotation start. Just about everyone on this staff can use a somewhat lightened workload this year.

  10. Russell Munson February 17th, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    They can manage Pineda’s innings by using Phelps as a spot starter.

  11. Jerkface February 17th, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Uhh Kevin Youkilis, Travis Hafner, Vernon Wells were at spring training last year .. so interesting

    True story: I was literally in Tampa watching the Yankees play a ST game when I got the update that they had traded for Vernon Wells on my phone. I immediately left the game and drove home. Such was the power of how bad that trade was.

    The thing about last year is that we knew the regular season team wasn’t even going to be that good. The spring trainings for the mid 00 teams was pretty boring to be honest, a lot of veterans with expected production and few to no young players to dream on in ST, but you could at least get excited for the team to win a lot in the regular season.

    This team has a lot of heat for the spring games, which I’d like to see transfer over the regular season.

  12. bigdan22 February 17th, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    One of the things I was concerned about last year even when it appeared Pineda’s surgery had been successful was Pineda’s mechanics. I was concerned that he would re-injure his repaired shoulder because of faulty mechanics. I was hoping that Pineda would use his rehab to work on his delivery and it appears that he has which is a good thing.

    When I first saw him in ST a couple years ago his delivery was pretty ugly. Talk about maximum effort. And his balance seemed way off. Looking forward to seeing him on TV in a couple weeks. Hope too that he straightens out his cap. I realize that Felix wears it that way but that’s not the Yankee way. That’s for Cano now.

  13. bigdan22 February 17th, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Somebody wrote about this the other day and I think it’s true. You don’t need 150 or 200 innings from one fifth starter. The fifth starter spot can be handled by 2 or 3 guys so that you get the innings you need without depleting a young or rehabbing pitcher. The Yanks should have enough depth at the 5 spot. That’s one of the reasons Tanaka was so important. It moved everybody one spot back and created backend depth.

  14. Patrick February 17th, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    This team has a lot of heat for the spring games, which I’d like to see transfer over the regular season.

    Yeah I’m really excited for spring training this season. Tanaka, Pineda, Betances, Sanchez, Romine, Murphy, Banuelos, Williams, Ramirez, Austin, Campos are the guys I’m most looking forward to seeing. Heathcott is injured right? There are a lot of young guys that could really contribute within the next 2 seasons. I’m also interested to see if Nova can continue his dominant stretch from last year..

  15. Jerkface February 17th, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    You don’t need 150 or 200 innings from one fifth starter. The fifth starter spot can be handled by 2 or 3 guys so that you get the innings you need without depleting a young or rehabbing pitcher.

    This would require moving a guy to the bullpen or the minors and the Yankees generally don’t do that? Their guys pitch until they suck or get hurt. It would require a big change in organizational philosophy for the 5th spot to be used among 2-3 different guys specifically for innings purpose.

    And whoever you think is covering those 2-3 5th starter spots will likely be pitching at the same time due to injury to non-5th starter pitchers at some point.

  16. Ys Guy February 17th, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Both CC and Kuroda looked overworked last year, Tanaka has to adjust to pitching on 4 days rest instead of 6 and Pineda’s still recovering from shoulder surgery. If they went with a 6 man rotation 4 times at the start of the season, they’ll each get one less start on the season. Its likely that missed time or ineffectiveness would even out the situation by then, or someone could be sent down. That would give Pineda and Phelps the chance to compete in the regular season for the last spot instead of in spring training.

    Im not a fan of the 6 man rotation and I dont want them to do it for very long, but it seems like it would make alot of sense at least for April.

  17. blake February 17th, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    “This is a much more interesting spring training than last year, a lot to look at including Pineda.”

    yea it’s just much more interesting all the way around……I had this feeling (and I’m sure others did too because we talked about it here) that the whole thing was just doomed from the start…..Jeter was rushing back….Kevin Youkilis was the 3B…..Tex was already hurt in the WBC….etc…..

    This year does feel different going in and there are a lot more stories to watch….Tanaka….can CC bounce back…..what’s Pineda gonna do…..whats Banuelos gonna do…..Beltran, McCann…..Ellsbury…..Jeter’s final tour….etc.

    This team is close to being good……which is why it’s frustrating to me that they are going to risk it all by apparently sending this infield out there. I hope it doesn’t bite them……

  18. bigdan22 February 17th, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Jerkface February 17th, 2014 at 3:12 pm
    You don’t need 150 or 200 innings from one fifth starter. The fifth starter spot can be handled by 2 or 3 guys so that you get the innings you need without depleting a young or rehabbing pitcher.

    This would require moving a guy to the bullpen or the minors and the Yankees generally don’t do that? Their guys pitch until they suck or get hurt. It would require a big change in organizational philosophy for the 5th spot to be used among 2-3 different guys specifically for innings purpose.

    ——-

    I doubt it would require any change at all. By the natural course of events the 5th starter spot is occupied by several pitchers on almost all teams. Rarely if ever does a team have 5 starters all throwing over 200 innings each. Teams generally try to go 6, 7 or 8 starting pitchers deep and the events take care of themselves.

  19. Jerkface February 17th, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Yea the infield thing doesn’t make a lot of sense. I’m hoping Dean Anna can do something and replace someone on the IF, because I don’t have a lot of faith in Roberts/Kelly being healthy/good.

    Ryan will be fun to watch on defense but he is going to be a dead spot and who knows what Jeter is going to do. I expect he will be very good vs LHP but the ankle will hurt him vs RHP.

  20. blake February 17th, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    I don’t want to see Pineda or Banuelos either one in the bullpen unless it’s just a last option…..I hope Pineda makes the rotation…..shoot for 140-150 innings and skip him enough starts to make that happen.

    I want Banuelos to just have a full and healthy AAA season and get his innings up in that range as well……he just needs good health….if he stays healthy I think he will be back on the prospect map a year from now and either be ready to join the rotation or be traded for a SS.

  21. Jerkface February 17th, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    I doubt it would require any change at all. By the natural course of events the 5th starter spot is occupied by several pitchers on almost all teams. Rarely if ever does a team have 5 starters all throwing over 200 innings each. Teams generally try to go 6, 7 or 8 starting pitchers deep and the events take care of themselves

    Uh yea ‘by natural course of events’ aka injury or bad performance. Its easy to say we don’t need to count on Pineda to throw more than 120 innings if we’re just expecting him to suck and get demoted or get injured.

    The issue is if Pineda is healthy for the entire season, where does it make sense to play him? I contend it would be bad to play him in the majors because he has thrown 80 innings in the past 2 years. I doubt he’d have the stamina to go an entire season of effectiveness and it could adversely effect him. He has an option, I’d prolly use it. He can come up for spot starts but I don’t like him opening as the 5th starter.

  22. Patrick February 17th, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    I think Kelly has a chance of being passable at third but Brian Roberts … dude has nothing left in the tank. I hope he proves me wrong but I think he’s finished. If Kelly was the only below average infielder the Yanks would be fine but right now they look to be going into the season with 2 bad players and 2 question marks.

  23. blake February 17th, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    “Yea the infield thing doesn’t make a lot of sense. I’m hoping Dean Anna can do something and replace someone on the IF, because I don’t have a lot of faith in Roberts/Kelly being healthy/good.”

    I have no idea who Dean Anna is and have refused to look him up in protest of the infield. I think in the hypothetical world that Roberts could play 140 games that he would be fine……but that’s so unlikely to happen that it’s really not even worth considering. Sizemore used to could hit a little back when he could play 2 years ago…..so theres that.

  24. bigdan22 February 17th, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Velocity will be a key indicator for Pineda. I said at very beginning of his rehab that it will be important the see what he’s throwing in his first minor league games in 2013. I said early last year that if Pineda comes out throwing in the low 90s, you can probably regard the surgery as a success. But if he’s throwing 88, 89, 90 there is probably a problem. I thought if he were 92-93 in his first minor league starts in 2013, he may go up a tick or two in 2014. So far so good. Let’s see how he comes out this year.

    I don’t think Pineda will ever pitch consistently in the mid-90s again but I’m not sure he has to. If he still has that wipe out slider, 92-94 should be fine. The key is, is he topping out at 93-94 or is he consistently throwing at that velocity? I think he really needs to sit around 93-94 to be truly effective again. At least until he adds a reliable third pitch.

  25. Jerkface February 17th, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Letting nature run its course in the rotation is passive, and I think a poor plan for player development. What I’m talking about is how the Yankees handle their pitchers and their roster decisions. You need 6-8 starters over the course of a season to account for ineffectiveness and injury, but thats not a development plan. ‘We have 6-8 pitchers, don’t worry’ is not a plan for specifically Michael Pineda and Manny Banuelos, guys who need innings and to show they are back healthy and strong.

  26. bigdan22 February 17th, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    doubt it would require any change at all. By the natural course of events the 5th starter spot is occupied by several pitchers on almost all teams. Rarely if ever does a team have 5 starters all throwing over 200 innings each. Teams generally try to go 6, 7 or 8 starting pitchers deep and the events take care of themselves

    Uh yea ‘by natural course of events’ aka injury or bad performance. Its easy to say we don’t need to count on Pineda to throw more than 120 innings if we’re just expecting him to suck and get demoted or get injured.

    The issue is if Pineda is healthy for the entire season, where does it make sense to play him? I contend it would be bad to play him in the majors because he has thrown 80 innings in the past 2 years. I doubt he’d have the stamina to go an entire season of effectiveness and it could adversely effect him. He has an option, I’d prolly use it. He can come up for spot starts but I don’t like him opening as the 5th starter.

    —–

    Not really. Sucking or getting injured isn’t the only way for Pineda to stop at 120. Two or three other pitchers like Nuno or Phelps could out perform him, at least for awhile and deserve a shot while Pineda gets a needed rest, especially if it looks like he has hit a wall.

    I see Pineda a bit different than Manny. I think Manny should spend at least a half season at AAA no matter how well he throws in ST to build up innings and confidence. If Pineda wins the comp in ST he should start. But if the field wins, he should go down to AAA. These things generally have a way of working themselves out in the back end of the rotation.

  27. AAA February 17th, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    So Kevin Long is now the designated a-hole on the coaching staff?

  28. Jerkface February 17th, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Relative sucking or fatigue is close enough to ‘suck or get hurt’ that it is insignificant. You can’t bank on that as effective player development. The idea is to NOT have Pineda fatigue and increase his injury risk in the majors. The Yankees should be trying to maximize their investment in Pineda, and wasting service time on him building up in the majors could be inefficient. The Yankees have not shown very steady hands in the pitcher development area.

  29. bigdan22 February 17th, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    And I don’t really believe the Yanks will use Manny or Pineda in the ML bullpen in 2014. The only exception might occur in Sept or Oct when all bets are off or these guys are close to some innings limit.

    I think Girardi just says that so everyone knows that’s it’s all about the major league squad. I do believe though that Jose Ramirez may be destined for the bullpen right from the get go if he performs well in ST.

  30. bigdan22 February 17th, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    The Yankees need to use this ST to start developing a new young core of dominant hard throwing relief pitchers. I’m thinking at first of Ramirez, Betances and maybe Lewis. I’d like to see Joe go heavy on RP this regular season. I want most of the starters out by the 6th or maybe 7th inning. The only guy I want going long is Nova and maybe CC if he shows he has his mojo back. The Yank should use this new core of flamethrowers almost every game. Just rotate them. Pitching is the key to success for 2014. More than ever.

  31. bardos February 17th, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Think about it, all Pineda has to do is be a competent #5 starter and the Yankees have won that trade by a mile. (Not even mentioning José Campos)

  32. Ys Guy February 18th, 2014 at 9:30 am

    I’d rather have seen the Orioles sign Burnout than Jiminez.

  33. Cheap Air Max August 23rd, 2014 at 3:25 am

    Of course not everyone has such chance traveling abroad, while you can ask your friends or relatives who are on abroad..

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