Pineda watch • 11.23.12
Who knows what Michael Pineda is? He had one half of a good season with the Mariners and now he’s coming off shoulder surgery.
But he’s only going to be 24 in January and the 6-foot-7 righty did come with a price tag of Jesus Montero. It would be nice if he turned out to be something sooner or later in the Yankees’ rotation and lived up to the potential he originally showed.
Pineda went 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA in 2011, but he was just 1-4 with a 5.12 ERA after the All-Star break that year. Then came the trade, the labrum tear and the operation May 1, forcing him to miss the entire season.
Here’s what we heard the other day about his comeback:
He came to town within the last two weeks for a routine follow-up with Dr. Chris Ahmad, the Yankees’ physician, and Dr. David Altchek, the Mets’ physician who operated on Pineda. He threw at Yankee Stadium on flat ground, his program for about two months.
“He looked good,” Brian Cashman said. “He’s throwing on flat ground at 90 feet, so I don’t want to get …
“All I can report is his arm was working very well, very healthy, very loose. He had zip on it. He’s in great physical shape in terms of body weight.
“He’s not going to be a choice in game action until probably sometime in May or June. Whether it’s majors or minors, who’s to say? We’ve got him to the side. … We certainly have high hopes for him, but in terms of planning and counting on him, it’s in everybody’s interest not to do that right now and just put together as deep and strong a staff as possible and be pleasantly surprised and appreciative if we can welcome him back to the fold at some point.
“But that’s all for another day. He’s got a lot more hurdles in the rehab process to clear.”
In other news, ESPN on Thursday had the Red Sox agreeing with Jonny Gomes on a deal for two years and $10 million, contingent on a physical. The outfielder hit .262 with 18 homers and 47 RBI for the A’s last season.
Michael Pineda is not going to pitch this year, and it’s reasonable to wonder whether he’ll ever be an effective pitcher again. Elbow surgery has become routine. Shoulder surgery is still a giant risk.
Yesterday’s announcement raised plenty of long-term questions that can’t be answered here and now, but it also raised several short-term questions that can be addressed.
It’s hard to believe something like this could happen on one pitch, but Pineda went through two MRIs and multiple resistance tests before Saturday’s rehab start in Tampa. The MRIs came back clean, the resistance tests showed good arm strength, and Cashman said even Pineda’s bullpens had been sharp leading to Saturday’s extended spring training start.
“After the one inning where he walked off after 15 pitches and said he felt something in the end, that physical exam completely changed,” Cashman said.
Cashman acknowledges that “it’s real fair to speculate that there was something there, laying dormant,” but the Yankees are confident that Pineda’s labrum was not torn until Saturday.
Did the Mariners know something?
Brian Cashman: “We got a healthy player to the best of everyone’s knowledge.”
Cashman went out of his way yesterday to say that he does no believe the Mariners were hiding something, and Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik has said the same thing.
“We had full access to his medicals, which were clean,” Cashman said. “We had the opportunity to do a full physical exam, which we did, which came out clean. Michael has never had a shoulder issue nor has he complained of one with the Mariners, nor has he ever had any tests on the shoulder with the Mariners. This is just an unfortunate circumstance that can happen.”
There has long been a theory that the Mariners made this trade strictly because they knew something the Yankees didn’t, but that theory can just as easily go the other way, that the Yankees would only trade a bat like Jesus Montero if they knew something the Mariners didn’t know. As Zduriencik told Andrew Marchand: “Before the trade, he was going to be our No. 2 starter.”
Did last year’s second half raise any red flags?
Brian Cashman: “There’s a little bit of a myth here.”
The myth Cashman’s refering to is the idea that Pineda’s second half was significantly worse than his first half last season. His ERA suggests that’s the case, but his strikeouts-per-nine and walks-per-nine stayed almost exactly the same (strikeouts-per-nine actually went up a little bit). As for velocity, that stayed relatively consistent as well except for his last start when he was pitching on 10-days rest and had gone through a kind of odd September as the Mariners tried to limit his workload.
“The bottom line, they were very similar, first half, second half,” Cashman said. “The important statistical categories that kind of measure how someone is pitching were fairly close, and his velocity in the first half and second half were fairly close. It wasn’t a radical change that’s been written about.”
Cashman isn’t the only one who feels this way. FanGraphs wrote the same thing immediately after the trade. There is this notion that the Yankees should have known they were getting damaged goods, but I’m just not sure the evidence is there.
Does this make the Montero trade a total bust?
Brian Cashman: “It’s certainly not a good situation.”
Oddly enough, in some ways, the current situation is exactly the reason the Yankees traded for Pineda in the first place. Pitchers get hurt, and young guys full of potential don’t always have sustained success at the big league level. The Yankees really believe that they can never have too much pitching, and they prefered a good young pitcher instead of a good young hitter. It just so happens that good young pitcher they acquired has a serious injury before throwing a single pitch for the team.
“There’s obviously always risk involving pitchers,” Cashman said. “But obviously this was a big move that I pursued this winter. You always know, you go in with eyes wide open if you pursue this with pitching. But to experience this on the front end, it’s extremely difficult.”
Knowing what they know now about Pineda’s shoulder, there’s no way the Yankees would make the same trade again. To judge it completely at this point would be short-sighted — the deal was always about much more than 2012 — but if the Yankees could take it back, they would. And that’s not a good sign.
“Hopefully the surgery will go as well as can be expected,” Cashman said. “And the rehab will go as well as could be expected, and we’ll get a player back that we hoped we would be getting. At the same time, you can’t deny that there’s a lot of risks associated with his circumstance now and the asset that we’ve acquired because of what has occurred. There’s no way of spinning this as anything other than a very unfortunate circumstance that will certainly affect us here in 2012 and may affect us going forward. But hopefully for the player’s sake as well as our franchise’s sake — certainly I was counting on this player — hopefully everything will go as well as you could possibly hope giving the unfortunate setting that we’re in.”
Associated Press photo
Yankees pregame (with revised lineup) • 04.17.12
Brian Heyman here again tonight for Chad. Mark Teixeira has been scratched due to flu-like symptoms.
Here’s the revised lineup:
1. Derek Jeter DH
2. Nick Swisher 1B
3. Robinson Cano 2B
4. Alex Rodriguez 3B
5. Andruw Jones RF
6. Curtis Granderson CF
7. Eduardo Nunez SS
8. Brett Gardner LF
9. Chris Stewart C
On the subject of starting pitchers, Andy Pettitte is down for about 65 pitches Friday when he starts again for Single-A Tampa, this time at Daytona.
And Michael Pineda is down for another bullpen session within the next few days, according to Joe Girardi. The Yankees hope he can start pitching in games after that. …
The Yankees have just two quality starts out of 10 so far, none from tonight’s starter against the Twins, CC Sabathia.
“To me, command has probably been the biggest issue,” Girardi said, speaking about the five starters in general. “Not to where we’ve walked a lot of people, but where we’ve gotten too much of the plate.”
Sabathia allowed nine earned runs over 12 innings in his first two starts, both no-decisions. The lefty is usually better when the weather is warmer.
“CC is a guy who has a really good changeup,” Girardi said. “A changeup is a feeling pitch. Obviously the warmer it is, the better feeling you’re going to have in your fingers. Some guys just enjoy the weather more. CC is one of those guys that you look at him, he doesn’t mind if it’s 95 degrees and really, really hot. I always dislike those days, but it doesn’t seem to bother him.” …
Hiroki Kuroda, who will start tomorrow night, has one of the two quality starts, his last one in the home opener against the Angels when he tossed eight-plus shutout innings. He had faced the Angels with the Dodgers, but the Rays got him for six runs and eight hits over 5 2/3 in his first outing. Kuroda is still adjusting to life in the AL.
“The biggest challenge is to get to know the hitters,” Kuroda said through interpreter Kenji Nimura.
Russell Martin is familiar with him from their Dodger days.
“Russell really helps me out,” Kuroda said.
The AL has taken the bat out of Kuroda’s hands so far.
“I don’t miss it at all,” he said. …
This is the 61st anniversary of Bob Sheppard’s first major-league game here as the PA announcer. April 17, 1951, marked Mickey Mantle’s first game as well. Mantle went 1 for 4. Two years later on this date, Mantle sent up his 565-foot homer at Griffith Stadium in Washington.
The day after the Yankees set their Opening Day roster, most of the questions seemed to center on guys who aren’t on the list. What’s next for Andy Pettitte? Is there a rehab plan for Michael Pineda? And, once again, why is Francisco Cervelli not on this team?
“I think he’s one of the best 60 catchers in the game, without a doubt,” Brian Cashman said. “I just think that right now, we have maybe three of the best 60 catchers in the game. That’s good for us, but obviously that’s not good for him because one of them is out of options and he’s not that guy.”
Chris Stewart took an overnight flight from California and joined the team this morning. He’s actually somewhat familiar with some of the pitching staff, having previously caught Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. As for Cervelli, he’s been shipped to Lehigh Valley for the Triple-A team’s opening series against the IronPigs.
He’s no longer the Yankees backup, but he’s still second in line for the starting job. Joe Girardi said today that Cervelli would become the starter if Russell Martin got hurt. He’s in Triple-A strictly because that’s the only way the Yankees could make it work while increasing their catching depth with Stewart.
“I think (Cervelli) would play the majority of the games is Russell got hurt,” Girardi said.
Essentially, the Yankees backup plan went from Cervelli/Craig Tatum to Cervelli/Stewart. They see that as an upgrade worth losing a pretty good young relief pitcher. Who they’re carrying as a backup on Opening Day isn’t a huge issue — it is for Cervelli, obviously, but the Yankees seem happy with either option — so this is really about a Plan B should Martin get hurt.
“If we had a problem and all of a sudden we’re vulnerable, and I went out of my way to look for someone to fix it, it’s going to cost,” Cashman said. “At that position it’s going to cost. Now, I don’t feel as vulnerable.”
• Michael Pineda made 25 throws today and experience no problems, but the Yankees are still uncertain about what comes next for him. “What he had was mild, at least by the MRI,” Cashman said. “It was hopefully nothing but a bump in the road. At the same time, you’ve got to wait until he’s back doing what he’s supposed to be doing, so I give that with a little bit of a caveat.”
• Andy Pettitte is not with the team. He’s back in Tampa preparing for his first minor league start, which will probably come on Monday. “I would anticipate that he’ll be on a regular schedule now,” Joe Girardi said. “Throw a side in couple of days, make a start and just continue to build up.”
• It’s too early to know which of Pettitte and Pineda will be ready first. “I can’t really tell you on that until Pineda starts throwing,” Girardi said. “We have to talk about when we think he’s going to pick up a baseball and start playing catch, when do we feel he’ll be on a mound, when do we feel he’s going to be in a game? We haven’t gotten to that, yet. He’s built up, though. That’s the difference. Depending on how long he sits out, we’ll have a difference of when he could be back.”
• Girardi’s made it clear that he plans to play Eduardo Nunez against left-handers, using that as an opportunity to DH either Alex Rodriguez or Derek Jeter. That likely means Brett Gardner will get a lot of days off against lefties while Andruw Jones plays left field. As for Nunez, the Yankees seem to really believe he’ll be productive this season, and they’re planning to start him Saturday against David Price. “I’m not waiting a month this year (to put him in the lineup),” Girardi said.
• Girardi on David Phelps making the team: “I think it’s important that he really soaks in tomorrow. I tell the players, ‘Just take a second and realize where you’re at, what you’ve worked so hard for your whole life and dreamt about.’ It’s a pretty neat feeling the first time your name is called and you go out there.”
• CC Sabathia had a slight head cold for his final spring start in Miami, but he said that’s gone. “I feel fine now,” he said. “That’s still no excuse for why I didn’t pitch good (last time). It’s just one of those nights.”
• Sabathia was occasionally disappointed by his fastball command this spring. “It was pretty good in my bullpen (after the last start),” he said. “I was excited about that. I throw everything off my fastball — my changeup, my cutter, everything. I need to have that to be able to pitch well.”
• Cashman on Alfredo Aceves being named the Red Sox closer: “When he’s healthy he’s not afraid of anything and he’s capable of everything.”
• Random clubhouse note: Eric Chavez has moved into the locker that Jorge Posada was always assigned here at the Trop. Chavez is now in the row of veterans that includes Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Andruw Jones and Mark Teixeira.
Associated Press photo
Quiet Yankees camp didn’t last long • 04.05.12
Remember when Yankees camp opened? The A.J. Burnett trade was all but complete, the Raul Ibanez signing was a matter of time and interest in Eric Chavez was public knowledge. There didn’t seem to be many surprises left. The Yankees would pick from six rotation candidates, move the sixth starter into the long relief role and choose someone to round out the bullpen.
Camp stayed quiet almost a full month, but quiet never lasts long around here.
In the past three weeks, Yankees camp has taken plenty of twists and turns, and it started with news that caught everyone by surprise on an otherwise quiet Friday.
Andy Pettitte comes out of retirement
I don’t know about you, but I was eating lunch when Jack Curry’s tweet hit the internet. I was sitting with Wall Street Journal beat writer Dan Barbarisi, and when he showed me his phone, I told him I didn’t get the joke. Pettitte had been in Yankees camp as a guest instructor in late February, and I’d been standing three feet from from him when he said he was happy in retirement. There was no chance of Pettitte coming back, until suddenly he was back. Quiet Yankees camp? Not any more.
Joba Chamberlain dislocates ankle
There was something about the way Brian Cashman broke the news that made it sound even worse than it was. He gathered the media in the Yankees dugout and started out by saying Chamberlain, “got into a pretty significant accident with his son.” When you’re thinking the worst, a dislocated ankle doesn’t sound so bad, but obviously it’s a significant setback. Chamberlain wasn’t going to break camp with the Yankees anyway, but this further delays his return from Tommy John surgery and creates further questions of what kind of long-term impact he’s capable of having.
Michael Pineda feels shoulder soreness
To be honest, it was beginning to feel like Pineda might not make the rotation anyway. His results weren’t particularly bad, but Pineda wasn’t pitching anything like the guy the Yankees meant to acquire — his velocity was down, his offspeed stuff was up – and Joe Girardi couldn’t say enough nice things about Freddy Garcia. Shoulder tendinitis might explain the diminished velocity, or it might have been caused by a desire to generate velocity. Either way, Pineda’s out for at least a few weeks, and it’s still far too early to say the trade was a good one or a bad one.
Francisco Cervelli demoted, Chris Stewart acquired
Cervelli wasn’t happy, and it was hard to blame him. The Yankees didn’t need to make this move, but they chose to give up some of their considerable pitching depth to improve their short-term catching depth. Necessary? Probably not. But I doubt it’s a game-changer either way. I happen to be a George Kontos believer, but the Yankees didn’t carry him even with a long relief opening. I also happen to like Stewart as a defensive backup, and if the Yankees weren’t comfortable with their catching depth after the Austin Romine injury, this probably helped the situation.
The Yankees will meet with Michael Pineda tomorrow to begin discussing a rehab schedule. Last season, Phil Hughes missed six months because of shoulder tendinitis. Is that a fair expectation for Pineda?
“I don’t think that at all,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “I don’t think they’re in the same category. I think there’s levels of inflammation in tendinitis and his is a nice light one. Hughes’ was much more significant.”
Cashman said that the only long-term injury suffered this spring was Joba Chamberlain’s dislocated ankle. Everything else was “just short-term stuff.” Cashman even expects Cesar Cabral to pitch again this season after suffering a stress fracture in his pitching elbow.
As for Pineda, neither Cashman nor Joe Girardi would estimate a return date, but it’s clear they don’t expect this injury to cost him significant time.
“Let’s get him going again, and then we’ll pace him after that,” Cashman said. “But it’s not a significant issue so, knock on wood.”
Now that they have the MRI results, the Yankees know what they’re dealing with. But that doesn’t mean they have all of the answers. What caused Michael Pineda’s injury, and what effect has it had on his pitching? Were there warning signs along the way, or was this completely unpredictable? Truth be told, there are a lot of variables in this situation, and there weren’t many definitive answers beyond the diagnosis.
Did the injury cause the velocity dip?
“There was always that curiosity, why isn’t it going up higher?” Joe Girardi said. “And as you’re looking for answers, we’re looking, too, trying to figure out why isn’t the velocity where it was last year? Is it the innings? Is he just not ready to turn it loose? What is it? None of us are ever really going to know, but right now, he’s shut down and we’ll get him back as soon as we can.”
Did trying to generate velocity lead to the injury?
“I think it’s possible,” Girardi said. “I think you can look at a lot of guys and nothing’s ever going to come back perfect if you do an MRI. It could just be the six and a half weeks accumulation of pitching and getting in shape, getting your arm in shape. That’s why we try not to rush guys. It could be (trying to generate velocity). It could be from him flying open a little bit. I know we talked about that yesterday. Who knows? It’s just normal workload that you get it.”
Did Phil Hughes’ troubles last year raise concerns about Pineda?
“I didn’t necessarily feel that way,” Girardi said. “Looking at Phil’s situation and looking at this I didn’t feel there was going to be a correlation, I didn’t. People’s bodies always respond different. Everyone’s different. I don’t think you can put, you know, any two human bodies in the same, you know, this is the reason it happened. Everyone is different.”
Do you buy into an innings jump leading to something like this?
“I do,” Girardi said. “I think there is something to it. I think you have to be careful. You have to protect players as they are maturing physically and making innings jumps, because a lot of time it’s the wear and tear over time that really hits you. If you ran a mile, mile, mile and then you went out and ran a marathon, you’re probably not going to feel the same as if you ran a mile. So you try to gradually increase just like you would with any activity.”
The injury could be the product of workload, or altered mechanics, or it could be normal wear and tear. The diminished velocity could be a byproduct of the soreness, a cause of the soreness, or it could a coinciding issue with no cause-effect relationship. The only thing to do now and is give Pineda time to heal and search for answers then.
Associated Press photo
Sunday notes: “Work on what you need” • 03.25.12
Whether you’re happy with Michael Pineda’s spring training probably depends on whether you believe his fastball velocity will truly spike with added arm strength and regular-season adrenalin.
“Nobody throws hard in spring training, because it’s spring training,” Pineda said. “You think a little more, and work on what you need. Now I’m focused a little more on making good pitches. I learned from last year. That’s what I need.”
Pineda’s fastball generally sat at 90-92 mph today. He reached 93-94, but for the most part, the velocity wasn’t significantly different than we’ve seen in his previous starts. That said, there were times when his changeup seemed to be a legitimate go-to pitch, and Pineda talked about the fact he likes to add and subtract from his slider. It’s not just a power breaking ball, it’s a more nuanced pitch than that, and Pineda hasn’t been strictly a power pitcher, he’s been a little more nuanced as well.
“It’s a little surprising that he does have an idea what he wants to do,” Joe Girardi said. “He can make his slider bigger when he wants to and he can make it different for right-handers and left-handers if he wants to. It is surprising for a kid his age.”
From the moment they traded for him, the Yankees have talked about Pineda’s need to improve his changeup and add consistency. This spring he’s clearly made the changeup a focus, and it’s been a good pitch. He’s not lighting up the radar gun, but he does have a 3.31 ERA through five spring starts.
“Everybody knows last year I threw harder,” Pineda said. “So (they ask), ‘Hey, what happened to Pineda right now?’ But nothing (happened). I feel good. I can pitch. Everybody sees me. I pitch every five days. … I know last year I threw hard, so I have more power. But this is spring training, so the power is coming back.”
• Girardi on Pineda’s changeup: “I think it’s come a long ways. If you look at his tapes last year, he didn’t throw a lot of them for strikes, but you see a lot more of them for strikes and some swings and misses. That’s a good thing.”
• Forgot to mention earlier that Alex Rodriguez was actually checked out by a doctor after he was hit by a pitch today and it was determined that no tests are necessary. Sounds like he’s perfectly fine.
• Derek Jeter didn’t seem to make too much of his 2-for-3 afternoon. His second game back from a calf injury included a home run that let the Yankees get away with a 1-1 tie. “I’m just coming back,” he said. This last week and a half of spring training will be key to getting his timing ready for the season, Jeter said. So far, it looks pretty good. He’s hitting .348 this spring and really seemed to drive the ball this afternoon.
• Dave Robertson wasn’t happy with his command the last time he threw batting practice, but he said it was much better today. He went to the bullpen to throw a few more pitches after his one inning and made a “minor adjustment” to improve his curveball command. His curve was a little short during the game.
• Girardi revealed that he might have been a little more worried about Robertson than he was letting on. “He looked fine to me,” Girardi said. “That’s kind of a sigh of relief. In the back of me there’s still that little bit of concern, but he hasn’t had any issues for a week or so, so I hope we’re through it.”
• Another scoreless inning for Mariano Rivera. That’s 27 straight spring innings without an earned run. The guy’s good in the regular season, the postseason and the preseason.
• None of the players sent out of big league camp this afternoon came as surprises, but there’s something to be said for Jose Gil’s spring. Largely unheralded in the Yankees system, he hit .529/.500/.706 this spring. Probably doesn’t mean much, but he was very good.
• If you knew two months ago that this spring would include injuries to both Jeter and Eduardo Nunez, would you expect that Doug Bernier would outlast Ramiro Pena in big league camp? Bernier’s also had a tremendous spring and seems to have caught Girardi’s attention. There’s little chance he’ll actually make the team, but Girardi seems to like him.
• Other than Jeter, only Nunez, Mark Teixeira and Andruw Jones had hits for the Yankees today. Teixeira and Nunez doubled. … Brett Gardner, Jayson Nix and Dewayne Wise each had outfield assists this afternoon. … Robertson, Rivera, Rafael Soriano, Manny Delcarmen and Clay Rapada each pitched a scoreless inning out of the bullpen.
• Girardi said he won’t be at the minor league complex to watch Phil Hughes tomorrow. Girardi is going to use the off day to go to Illinois to visit his father, who’s been sick for quite some time.
• Former Yankees outfielder Greg Golson has been traded to the White Sox. He was in camp with the Royals.
Associated Press photos
Michael Pineda makes his fourth spring start tonight, and Joe Girardi acknowledges that it’s time to begin truly evaluating his progress. When camp opened, the focus was on Pineda’s changeup — a pitch that’s actually been pretty good for him – but the focus has clearly shifted to Pineda’s diminished fastball.
“I know everybody is talking about Michael Pineda’s fastball velocity,” Brian Cashman said. “I wish I could give you an answer. It’s not where it was in the summertime, but I know one thing: I’ve watched every one of his starts except for the one, and I see how the hitters are reacting to him. Even the outs are soft. His secondary pitches are excellent right now. It’s allowing his fastball (to play up). Even if it’s not the power one right now that we believe he’s got coming, he’s still really good. And if that power comes back, he’s going to be great. I’m fine with it. I’m excited by his pitchability, and I’ll be even more excited if and when that velocity comes back.”
The Yankees say they’re not concerned, but I’m not sure that’s what they really mean. A little bit of concern makes sense right now, definitive judgment does not, and I think the Yankees are trying to say that they’re not passing judgment based on three spring starts. They know a pitcher’s velocity can grow as he gains spring arm strength — or even as he gains the adrenalin of a big league stadium – so the Yankees trusting the process before reacting.
That’s fair, but after trading the all-but-untradeable Jesus Montero, the Yankees are clearly banking on Pineda to become a reliable front-of-the-rotation starter, and a lot of that potential is based around a mid-90s fastball. Maybe he’ll show it tonight and questions will diminish. If he doesn’t, there will still be time for him to find it, but the cause for concern will be a little more obvious.
Associated Press photo
Thursday notes: “I don’t expect miracles” • 03.15.12
Both Joe Girardi and Freddy Garcia said pretty much the same thing today: It’s just too early to know anything for certain. Garcia had his right hand heavily wrapped this morning, but he’s still not sure how much time he’ll have to miss after being hit by a comebacker on Wednesday.
“Right now I don’t think about it,” Garcia said, “because I went to the hospital yesterday, they took x-rays and everything is fine. So, I just have to wait. I move my fingers good, so I don’t think I have to have any problems.”
Girardi said he’s expecting at least one more day of treatment. The injury seems to be close to the same spot where Eduardo Nunez has experienced soreness for a week and a half now.
“I don’t expect miracles,” Girardi said. “When you’ve got swelling in your hand, it’s going to take time to get rid of it. I’m not going to scratch him, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he didn’t make his next start on his day. Maybe a couple of days later or something.”
• Two more notes about Michael Pineda’s fastball: 1) Girardi said he hasn’t seen any signs of Pineda trying to overthrow just to reach 95, and 2) Pineda said he’s much more focused on hitting his spots than hitting the mid-90s.
• Russell Martin on Pineda’s fastball: “I think he was like 88-90 in Clearwater, so it’s coming along. I’m not worried about it. I just want to see the guy pitch. He’s a pitcher like anybody else out there. I just wanted to see him execute pitches. His velocity, he has it in him, it’s just a matter of time. As soon as you put on your uniform, you’re in New York and you get the juices flowing, the velocity is going to pick up no matter what.”
• And if you’re looking for more fastball specifics: “(Pineda) was a little inconsistent trying to throw his fastball away to right-handers. It looked like he was pulling off a little bit.” Martin said it’s an easy thing to correct and could be fixed in a single bullpen.
• Ramiro Pena was trying to steal second base, and just as he went into his slide, his spike stuck in the dirt. That’s when he sprained his right ankle, not when he actually made contact with the bag. He estimated that he’ll miss only two or three days, but Girardi said that might be optimistic. “We’ll see about that,” Girardi said. “I imagine it’s going to be pretty sore tomorrow. Sometimes adrenaline helps you out in a situation like that.”
Other injury updates:
• Dave Robertson was scheduled to play catch today and on track to throw a bullpen this weekend.
• Russell Branyan still hasn’t played this spring and is getting an epidural for his sore back.
• George Kontos threw another batting practice.
• Manny Delcarmen is throwing off a half mound.
• The Nationals announced a strained hamstring for Chien-Ming Wang, who stumbled trying to cover first base. It’s obviously a tough break for a guy who finally seemed to be healthy and effective again.
• Martin was knocked down on the play that left Wang injured. “It happened in slow motion,” Martin said. “It was weird. I tucked pretty good. If I had fell differently, it could have been worse. I kind of just rolled with it. It’s the ninja coming out right there.”
• Apparently the Yankees saved all of their excitement for after the media was down in the clubhouse. They won the game 8-5, having rallied with four runs in the seventh and two runs in the eighth. Jose Gil is hitting .750 this spring and had a two-run single. Melky Mesa and Bill Hall both doubled in the game. Hall and Justin Maxwell each had two hits, continuing a nice spring for Maxwell (he’s hitting .375 with two stolen bases). Maxwell, Jayson Nix and Andruw Jones each stole a bag today.
• Clay Rapada pitched into and out of some trouble, but finished with 1.1 scoreless innings. Mike O’Connor and Adam Warren combined for a scoreless ninth. In between, Brett Marshall allowed two runs in 2.1 innings and Juan Cedeno was charged with a run in his two-thirds of an inning.
Associated Press photos