Via Jon Paul Morosi -
Over several days at Grapefruit League games, Michael Pineda’s outing against the Tigers was the performance that impressed me most.
Pineda hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2011, when he was an All-Star with the Seattle Mariners. He was traded to the Yankees after that season, only to undergo a shoulder surgery that idled his career for roughly two years. But he looked like his old self Friday night, striking out Miguel Cabrera — and three other Tigers — during two scoreless innings.
“Every time he steps on the mound since he’s been in the big leagues, he’s been getting awkward swings,” said new Yankees catcher Brian McCann, who remembered facing Pineda (and his imposing 6-foot-7 frame) back in 2011. “I don’t think that was anything out of the ordinary. The thing I was impressed about was him pounding the zone with all of his pitches. He struck a guy out on an 0-2 slider. It was definitely encouraging.”
I know we aren’t even midway through March. But a rotation of Hiroki Kuroda, CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Ivan Nova and Pineda is playoff-caliber, provided Pineda remains healthy and Tanaka adjusts smoothly in his first season as a Yankee. Despite not throwing a meaningful pitch since September 2011, Pineda could become a pivotal figure — not just for the Yankees, but the entire AL East.
It’s March 10th. Call me up on July 1st and then let’s see how the Yankees starting rotation is doing…