Saturday, March 8, 2014
It’s been more than two years since the Yankees dealt their top prospect for Michael Pineda, yet his next official pitch in pinstripes will be his first.
After two frustrating seasons following shoulder surgery, Pineda took his first step toward redemption Friday night, throwing a pair of scoreless innings against the Tigers in his spring debut at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
“I know it’s been a long time not seeing a major league hitter,” said Pineda, who allowed one hit and struck out four, throwing 21 of his 27 pitches for strikes. “I had a good focus tonight. I showed Michael Pineda.”
If Pineda is able to build on his first outing, the competition for the No. 5 starter job won’t be much of a competition.
Hearing Girardi and McCann talk about him sounds impressive…
“He was really good,” catcher Brian McCann said. “Pounded the strike zone with all three of his pitches. His fastball’s got that natural cut on it, which makes it hard for a hitter.”
Pineda came back out for a second inning, striking out Rajai Davis with the slider that made him so effective during his All-Star first half in 2011 with the Mariners.
“His slider was pretty much unhittable,” McCann said.
Tyler Collins flied out to center, then Pineda had his most impressive moment of the night, striking out two-time defending American League MVP Miguel Cabrera on another slider.
“It’s a good test,” Pineda said. “I faced him before; I know he’s a really good hitter, and I tried to make a good adjustment to make a good pitch and get an out.”
“It shows you his slider is pretty good,” Girardi said. “We knew that, though.”
I don’t even want to imagine what it will be like if this is for real. The Yankees rotation could theoretically be pretty damn interesting this season.