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Pregame notes: “He has a job to do”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Mar 25, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Michael Pineda

I’m not sure what the odds would have been when camp opened, but by the time Joe Girardi settled in to make his rotation announcement this afternoon, it was fully expected that Michael Pineda had won the job. So today’s news came as no surprise.

Pineda will be the Yankees No. 5 starter. He will start the Saturday game in Toronto, one day after Masahiro Tanaka makes his major-league debut in the Blue Jays series opener. It will be Pineda’s first major-league game since 2011, and his first big league appearance with the Yankees.

“He threw extremely well,” Girardi said. “It was what we wanted to see from him. He improved with each outing, and at times was dominant. We really liked what we saw. … He has worked very hard the last two years. He’s excited about it but understands he has a job to do.”

David Phelps, Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno essentially move into competition for bullpen jobs, with Phelps and Warren basically locks for the big league roster in some sort of relief role.

Although the Yankees have previous acknowledged that Pineda won’t be cleared for 200 innings this season, Girardi said there will be no limits on him when the season starts. The Yankees are not going to limit him on the front end. Sounds like they’ll cross that bridge if/when they get there.

“He does not have an innings limit on him,” Girardi said. “We will watch how he’s doing and we’ll make judgments on what we have to do. This is a guy that has been to 175 innings before, so we know that he’s capable of handling that. It’s just, we’ve got to see how he’s responding.”

At 25 years old, Pineda has pitched to a 1.20 ERA and 1.00 WHIP this spring. He’s struck out 16, walked just one, and Girardi said the Yankees radar has clocked his fastball at 94 mph several times (TV radar has shown sitting closer to 90-91). The other candidates pitched well, but Pineda has earned the spot.

“I think we went into camp with an open mind,” Giradi said. “We weren’t sure what we were going to get from Michael. You look at a lot of other years, maybe one of those guys makes it as your fifth, because they all threw extremely well. But Michael, we thought, probably had the best spring. He’s a guy that has only started, but we weren’t going to make a decision on that; just because a guy had never pitched out of the bullpen, that that’s what we were going to do. We said all along we were going to take who we feel is going to be the best in the rotation and then we’ll figure out the bullpen.”

Adam Warren· Although Girardi wouldn’t guarantee them spots in the bullpen, it’s clear that the Yankees are planning to carry both Phelps and Warren as relievers. “There are no guarantees in life, but they’ve pitched really well,” Girardi said. Less certain is the upcoming role for Nuno, who is being considered as a bullpen option as well. “We’re going to look at him,” Girardi said. “We’re going to look at what gives us the 12 best.”

· Warren, Phelps and Nuno will each pitch today. Sounds like each one will likely pitch only an inning. It will be treated like a relief outing for each of them, Warren just happens to be pitching the first inning.

· Jcaoby Ellsbury came through today’s minor league game with no problems, and he’ll play at the minor league complex again tomorrow. Girardi said it’s possible Ellsbury will play the field tomorrow, but that largely depends on the weather. There’s a chance Ellsbury will play at the minor league complex the rest of spring just in case he has to go retroactively onto the disabled list, but Girardi said he’s confident Ellsbury will be ready for Opening Day. “I feel pretty good about it,” Girardi said. “But I can’t say I’m absolutely sure until we run him out in the outfield and see how he does. I feel pretty good about it”

· Catcher John Ryan Murphy has been sent down to minor league camp, but Girardi said he’s not yet ready to announce his big league backup catcher. Barring a trade, it would be stunning if it weren’t Francisco Cervelli. “I’ll announce it when the time is right, but he’s played extremely well,” Girardi said.

· Both Hiroki Kuroda and Masahiro Tanaka will pitch in Friday’s game. The plan is for Kuroda to go two innings — scaling back a little bit heading into his regular-season debut — while Tanaka will stretch out a little more. He’ll have seven days off before his first regular season start, so he’ll surely through a couple of bullpens in between.

· Girardi expects to wait until the very end of spring training before announcing his infield bench players. It still an extreme longshot that Brendan Ryan will be healthy enough to break camp.

· As scheduled, Tyler Austin returned to game action this afternoon. Slowed by a sore right wrist, Austin has been reassigned to minor league camp and played right field for the Double-A squad in today’s intrasquad game with Ellsbury getting regular at-bats. Gary Sanchez caught for the Double-A team in that game and he threw out a base stealer.

Hiroki Kuroda, Masahiro Tanaka· Today’s bullpens:
Cesar Cabral (to Roman Rodriguez)
Masahiro Tanaka (to Francisco Cervelli)
CC Sabathia (to Austin Romine)
Hiroki Kuroda (to Jose Gil)

· Tomorrow’s travel squad for Dunedin:
Pitchers: Dellin Betances, Danny Burawa, Preston Claiborne, Matt Daley, Shane Greene, David Herndon, Chris Leroux, Fred Lewis, Jim Miller, Yoshinori Tateyama
Catchers: Francisco Cervelli, Jose Gil, John Ryan Murphy
Infielders: Dean Anna, Russ Canzler, Derek Jeter, Kelly Johnson, Eduardo Nunez, Brian Roberts, Scott Sizemore, Yangervis Solarte, Zelous Wheeler
Outfielders: Zoilo Almonte, Carlos Beltran, Adonis Garcia, Brett Gardner, Antoan Richardson, Alfonso Soriano

· Today’s second string: C Austin Romine, 1B Russ Canzler, 2B Eduardo Nunez, SS Dean Anna, 3B Scott Sizemore, LF Yangervis Solarte, CF Adonis Garcia, RF Zoilo Almonte, DH Zelous Wheeler

· Today’s scheduled relievers: David Phelps, Vidal Nuno, Matt Thornton, Shawn Kelley, Dave Robertson, Matt Daley, Fred Lewis, David Herndon and Shane Greene (with Jim Miller, Danny Burawa and Yoshinori Tateyama available in case that huge group can’t get through all nine)

Associated Press photos

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28 Responses to “Pregame notes: “He has a job to do””

  1. bigdan22 March 25th, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Re-post:

    I’m a little concerned about Kuroda and his age. Really haven’t seen him pitch much this spring.

    Tanaka needs to keep the ball down. But he’s real smart and proud too. He’s got the right stuff.

    Nova might be the thoroughbred in this rotation. A bit high strung but having the legs to dominate the field.

    Nuno is still the secret weapon. He may have the best command of them all. Saw where Quintana just got a five year deal. Hmmm.

  2. Patrick March 25th, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    I’m a little concerned about Kuroda and his age. Really haven’t seen him pitch much this spring.

    Tanaka needs to keep the ball down. But he’s real smart and proud too. He’s got the right stuff.

    Nova might be the thoroughbred on this team. A bit high strung but having the legs to dominate the field.

    Nuno is still the secret weapon. He may have the best command of them all. Saw where Quintana just got a five year deal. Hmmm.

    I agree with pretty much all of this, except I don’t have strong feelings about Nuno one way or another. I’m really excited to watch Nova/Pineda/Tanaka this year, that could be the core of the Yankee rotation for a long time if things go well.

    I think this is going to be the year when Nova breaks out in a big way. He throws hard, generates a ton of ground balls, has an out pitch and it seems like he’s figured out how to pitch deeper into games. I think he’s a good sleeper pick for Cy Young

  3. trisha - true pinstriped blue March 25th, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    “Nuno is still the secret weapon. He may have the best command of them all. ”

    Yeah I’ve been a huge fan of his since watching him last season. I wish there was a place for him in the rotation.

  4. trisha - true pinstriped blue March 25th, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/t.....ree-agents

    A lot of FA still unsigned.

  5. austinmac March 25th, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    I can think of no reason not to name Cervelli unless he was told something involving him or Romine is possible. In that event, it would make no sense to name either as starter beforehand.

    Probably, just Joe being Joe.

  6. Patrick March 25th, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    Probably, just Joe being Joe.

    The only other reason would be if the Yankees are trying to trade Cervelli within the next day or two. It wouldn’t really be ideal if they name him the backup, then trade him, then say Romine is the backup.

  7. austinmac March 25th, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    Patrick,

    That was my thinking. No reason also to decrease Romine’s value before a possible trade by sending him down.

  8. Pat M. March 25th, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    No real surprise here regarding Michael Pineda being in the Yanks rotation. Heck by June he could be their best pitcher. Hard to believe that some one here actually said that Dellin Betances had better stuff and was a better pitcher. Has Betances ever thrown 3 innings without walking somebody ???? I hope he makes the big club as a bullpen option but he’s no starting pitcher in this lifetime.

  9. BD (Boston Dave) March 25th, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Yanks should see what they can get for Phelps. If I’m a smaller market team, I’d love a guy like that as my #4 or #5.

    They don’t need to move him, but if he starts out well, a pitching needy team (Atlanta? has a deep system and Harang May tank) would be wise to consider and pony up a bit for a guy like Phelps.

  10. bigdan22 March 25th, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    “The only other reason would be if the Yankees are trying to trade Cervelli within the next day or two. It wouldn’t really be ideal if they name him the backup, then trade him, then say Romine is the backup.”

    —–

    I think that’s the reason. But it doesn’t mean a trade is close or even likely. I’m quite sure Cervelli’s name has come up and the Yanks are probably asking for more than what possible trading partners are willing to pay at this time. I think teams looking to trade for Cervelli now probably want to use him as a starter but only want to pay for a BUC.

  11. blake March 25th, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Yanks should see what they can get for Phelps. If I’m a smaller market team, I’d love a guy like that as my #4 or #5.”

    They probably have…..it’s just that it’s possible the return isn’t worth trading him. He can help the Yankees so you need a real return to warrant moving him…..a nick franklin or Owings or somebody like that

  12. DaSaint007 March 25th, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Yeah, I see the potential trade on the horizon. Cervelli going to be emotionally crushed again.

  13. Patrick March 25th, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    They probably have…..it’s just that it’s possible the return isn’t worth trading him. He can help the Yankees so you need a real return to warrant moving him…..a nick franklin or Owings or somebody like that

    Phelps, Nuno, Warren, Romine, Cervelli and Nuno all have legitimate trade value (of varying levels), but I think you are right in that they are more important to the Yankees than what they would bring back in trade.

    I definitely agree, I’d love to make a trade for Franklin or Owings, I doubt we could pull that off without Gary Sanchez though.

    I think by the end of this year the Yankees will have to unload at least a couple of the above names I listed.

  14. blake March 25th, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    I definitely agree, I’d love to make a trade for Franklin or Owings, I doubt we could pull that off without Gary Sanchez though.”

    Probably ….Phelps for Franklin seems very fair to me though and helps both clubs

  15. raymagnetic March 25th, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    If Cervelli is traded to a team he gets to start for he won’t be crushed.

  16. austinmac March 25th, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    I get the sense from hearing Cervelli speak that he would love to start somewhere. Who wouldn’t? It’s where the real money lies.

  17. Hankflorida March 25th, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Why trade Cervelli as he leads the team in homers during ST. If Ellsbury isn’t ready, Soriano can move to the outfield with Cervelli at DH, and this team will have some added pop until Ellsbury gets back.

  18. Patrick March 25th, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Why trade Cervelli as he leads the team in homers during ST.

  19. pete2 March 25th, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    “This is a guy that has been to 175 innings before, so we know that he’s capable of handling that.”

    Pineda’s surgically repaired shoulder has not even sniffed 175 Joe. Don’t insult us Joe.

    As for this trade talk of Cervelli and Phelps. You can never have too much SP for one thing. Don’t expect that opening day rotation to make more than 120 starts. Guys like Kuroda and Tanaka will skip a few starts here and there and odds are at least 1 SP’er ends up on the DL if not 2, and Pineda, despite what Joe says is probably only good for 20 starts or so.

    Also, as we saw last year, having a backup C who can hit is pretty valuable. McCann is probably not starting much more than 120 games at C.

  20. Doreen March 25th, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Cervelli is not a HR hitter, but he has been clutch quite a few times, and has been around the block He could be a starting catcher for someone. So, I hope if there is a trade in the works that Cervelli gets to be a starter and the Yankees get the requisite return.

    McCann is a fixture for ths year, and I hope next year they can start working in Murphy a bit, with McCann gradually doing more DH.

  21. pete2 March 25th, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    I am glad ST stats mean nothing, except for pitchers. LOL

    The opening day lineup by my calculations is batting 222 in 319 AB with 5 HR (1 HR/64 AB. Cervelli batting 455 with 4 HR in 33 AB (1 HR/11 AB). Obviously, things are going to change.

  22. Giuseppe Franco March 25th, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    I’m not trading Phelps unless he helps them get a permanent solution at 2B or 3B in return.

    They are gonna need at least 7 or 8 starting pitchers this season even if the rotation does stay healthy.

  23. Hankflorida March 25th, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Also, as we saw last year, having a backup C who can hit is pretty valuable. McCann is probably not starting much more than 120 games at C.

    Pete, you are so right, and Cervelli was supposed to be the starting catcher last year before he got hurt. Cashman saw something in him last year that made him not sign Martin, and if it is not the juice that adds to his being able to hit the long ball, I would keep him around if Soriano has to play the outfield for DH or to catch if McCaan has to play first.

  24. Giuseppe Franco March 25th, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    The major downside having Phelps in the pen though is that he won’t be stretched out when they do need him to start and he’ll only be able to go 4 innings and unnecessarily burn the pen.

  25. Joe from Long Island March 25th, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    GF – hi how are you? Seems like you’re doing well.

    Every now and then I read over comments to Chad’s posts and see your comments, and think of the courage you’ve shown to get where you are. Bless you.

    I agree. I wouldn’t trade Phelps unless it nets a quality starter at second or third.

  26. Doreen March 25th, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    I know theoretically there are no “untouchables” but Phelps is one anyway!

    Howdy, Dr. Joe in LI!

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