Feb
15

Michael Pineda’s First Day

By

(Ron Antonelli/New York Daily News)

Pitchers and catchers officially report for duty this Sunday, but a number of players are already in Tampa preparing themselves for the upcoming season. One of those players is Michael Pineda, and yesterday would have been a typical pre-Spring Training day had he not been involved in the Yankees’ biggest transaction in more than two years.

“It’s my first day and I’m excited because it’s my first time practicing with the New York Yankees,” said the right-hander, who was all smiles on Day One. “It’s my first time living in Tampa and I don’t know [the area], so I wanted to come early and get in a couple practices before Spring Training starts. I like to come in early.”

Pineda insisted on speaking English to the media, and both Kevin Kernan and Anthony McCarron provided a recap of his first day on the job. He played some light catch in the bullpen – “About 65,” he joked when asked how hard he was throwing — and ran sprints, pretty standard stuff. Like everyone else, Pineda wants to works on some things in camp, specifically his changeup and two-seamer. He also acknowledged that his second half fade last year was the result of fatigue.

“First half, my arm was strong and I was feeling great and the second half, I’m feeling a little tired,” admitted Pineda. “The other teams know me. It’s a long season.”

The Mariners took care of Pineda down the stretch, having him make just three starts during the final 31 games of their season. He threw only 287 pitches after August 27th, and his workload increased by just 31.2 innings from the year before. Of course big league innings are more stressful than minor league innings, but he said he feels fine now and is ready to go. It’s worth noting that while his ERA spiked in the second half, his strikeout and walk rates never wavered.

Pineda also spoke briefly about his relationship with Robinson Cano, who he first met last year when the Yankees were in Seattle and again at the All-Star Game. “My head is (spinning) because I’ve never stayed in New York,” he remembers telling Cano after the trade. “He said, ‘Don’t worry man, I’ll take care of you’ … I love this guy. He’s my friend.” Pineda is also looking forward to picking CC Sabathia‘s brain, and not just because they share the same height (both listed at 6-foot-7). “I want to learn from him and I want to say hi because he’s a great pitcher.”

No player in camp will be under a more watchful eye this spring than Pineda, just like Jesus Montero will be out in Arizona with the Mariners. Fair or not, being the Yankees’ big offseason move comes with pressure in all forms; the pressure to perform, the pressure to say the right thing, the pressure to be perfect in as many ways possible. Pineda’s first day at camp was uneventful in the grand scheme of things, which is perfectly fine. There will be plenty time for scrutiny later whether he (or you) likes it or not. It’s the nature of the beast.

Categories : Spring Training
  • Ro

    In 2.5 weeks we’ll be chilling on our sofa’s watching spring training against the Phillies.

    3/4/2012 1:05PM on YES.

  • JoeyA

    Any idea whether he came to camp heavier or lighter than prior years?

    Or maybe I’m just paranoid after another one of our “young arms” watched the Tampa Bay Lightning all offseason and ate ring dings and came to camp overweight with a noodle for an arm.

    • JoeyA

      *Still salty over Hughes essentially wasting a year last year, if you can’t tell.

  • dean

    We have a winner

  • Manny

    He just said all the right things, amazing. I love him already.

  • gageagainstthemachine

    Love the Yankee logo on this guy, the attitude through his words, and the competitive look on his face…will try to keep my expectations at an appropriate level, but so far feeling really good about this move!

  • Tyler

    Wish he’d pick a jersey number already. Been waiting to get one since the trade.

    • Okyankee24

      Thought I heard 35?

  • Peter North

    He just went early to hit Mons Venus.

    • Monterowasdinero

      On ARod’s advice.

  • Dropped Third

    It’s nice when the guy your rooting for comes off as a nice guy. This kid is saying the right things and other people are saying good things about him. He’ll fit right in and gel in the yankee club house and Cano will get his melky replacement. I can not wait until he blows a 97 heater passed somebody and drops his sick slider and everyone will be going jesus who?

    • Steve (different one)

      Yes, but how can we be SURE he’s a nice guy?

      • fin

        I heard he doesnt like old people and is mean to kids.

        /Roy McAvoy’d

      • Dropped Third

        We cant be we can only go by the media’s portrayal of him and what other people have to say about the kid. He could be a complete jerk but heres to hoping he’s not.

      • jsbrendog

        How can you be sure he’s NOT a nice guy and isn’t a headcase!?!

        that thread was so painful to navigate through

        • Plank

          that thread was so painful to navigate through

          I agree.

        • Mykey

          Also hilarious though. Gotta say, I enjoy an outlandish argument here and there.

          • Mike HC

            I have been bored with the Ted arguments from basically the get go, but I have to say I agree that I was enjoying the one in the last thread, ha. Lots of intentional and unintentional comedy going on there.

  • Avi

    I miss Montero.

    • Havok9120

      We know you do.

    • KL

      Who?

  • Just Nod If You Can Hear Me

    The kid seems to have a level head on his shoulders. All the natural gifts in the world wouldn’t mean shit if he was either a screwball or a complete introvert – he’s obviously neither.

    Spring training hasn’t even officially started and already there’s a good vibe going. I sense a monster season in the making.

    • Havok9120

      Well, the vibe is certainly better than last year. I’ll take that at least.

  • AC

    This guy looks like a beast. Seems me rally strong which is a good thing. If Hughes can turn it around we will be even stronger. Even if Hughes after going to that institute over winter to straighten him out is only throwing 90-91 again by last week of March then something is wrong with him. He obviously devoted himself to coming into camp in better shape lets hope he rediscovers his fastball. Going from 95-96 to barely hitting 90 is cause for concern.

    • SDM

      Hughes never threw 95-96, he’s always been a 92-94 guy

  • http://www.cheapbaseballbatsonline.com Jeff Wise

    I’m a Mariners fan and know firsthand Michael Pineda is the real deal. I was sad to see him go but I’m happy for him at the same time.

    Please be patient with him as a fan. He’ll tick you off with a bunch of walks one game but the next he’ll fan 10.

    • Mike HC

      So, you are saying there is a Good Pineda and Bad Pineda?

      Nobody was more bipolar than AJ, so I think we will be prepared, ha.

      And advice for you with Montero — If he gets off to a slow start to the season, be patient, because rest assured he will go on a monster tear in the second half.

  • G

    “Pineda insisted on speaking English to the media”

    You have no idea how happy I am to read this. I’m tired of 15 year veterans like Colon refusing to learn the language.

    • jsbrendog

      i’d bet $$ colon speaks english. something about his personality makes me think it was an act…and that he was fucking with everyone

    • Havok9120

      RACIST!!1!!!one!

      I agree completely.

    • Captain

      i think its a comfort thing over a refusal to learn the language. would you prefer to speak your native language or one you’ve pretty much learned in a clubhouse to the media?

      • G

        I would prefer my native language, however I’d understand the market I’m in and do my best to speak English.

        It’s not so much that I hate guys for not learning the language, but a willingness to learn a new language tends to accompany a willingness to get better and adapt. It’s just a personality thing.

        English is hard to speak fluently, but getting to a point where you can successfully conduct a basic interview is easy enough. It’s not like I’m asking them to recite Shakespeare.

    • Joe R

      English is the hardest language to learn. Not everyone can do it so easy. Whats the big deal?

      • Matt

        Yeah Joe, NY is full of people who show the English language is very hard to learn. Especially hard when most don’t care or don’t try. I would think playing in this country, or living here for that matter, would be a motivation to learn the language rather than expecting others to comply to your language like so many lovely New York foreigners do.

        Glad to see someone like Pineda with some respect. Go to China Joe or Poland and refuse to learn their language and see annoying that would be.

        That was my favorite part of the article to read that. Good for him!

        • Plank

          I have lived in foreign countries for the past 6 years and my foreign language skills are pretty minimal. I don’t consider it rude or whatever other crap you are saying. I just don’t spend my free time learning the language. So what?

          • G

            Unless you’re a professional athlete being interviewed like Pineda I don’t see the connection between you two.

            Is it so wrong for me to applaud Pineda’s willingness to learn the new language and assume it speaks to good character? It’s just my opinion that if you’re playing in an American market, you should be able to speak decently after 10 years. The fact that Pineda’s insisting on it only a year into his major league career is awesome.

            • Plank

              I would think playing in this country, or living here for that matter, would be a motivation to learn the language rather than expecting others to comply to your language like so many lovely New York foreigners do.

              Glad to see someone like Pineda with some respect. Go to China Joe or Poland and refuse to learn their language and see annoying that would be.

              The person I was responding to was clearly speaking about more than just playing baseball.

          • G

            Sorry, I was on the mobile site and thought that was a reply to me.

            Never mind then haha. I don’t have a problem with people choosing to speak their native language in America, just not when they’re in the public eye. Especially with baseball players who are making millions to play a game.

        • Plank

          I agree with you. It is terrible when people speak their native language instead of adapting. That’s why I only speak Navajo.

  • Pinade is greata

    He needs to find rivera first and learn the cutter. He would be unhitable with a cutter at the speed he throws.

    • TinoBambino24

      Let’s worry about the changeup first; then we can see what else he can acquire to his repitoire.

      • G

        I want him to talk to Sabathia about a circle-change, and to Kuroda and Garcia about a splitter. His splitter would probably sit in the low 90s, which is absolutely deadly if it has good movement.

        I believe I’ve asked this before, but why does no one try a palm ball grip for their change? I don’t play baseball competitively and I’m certainly no great pitcher, but I was just throwing some different pitches to a catcher one day and threw a palm ball at full force. He jumped because he thought I was throwing full speed, but it came in slowly and dropped significantly downward.

        If I can fool someone with a palmball, I’m sure these guys could throw some nasty ones. You’d think after Hoffman used it and had about the greatest change-up of all time people would copy, but I guess not.

  • kevin

    Although there’s not much news here, I’m impressed first that he showed up early for camp. I also like that he insists on speaking English with the press. It tells me he’s taking being a Yankee seriously. He’s seeking out CC and Robbie. He knows he has stuff to work on and plans to do it. I like the kid, to the extent of this observation and look forward to seeing how he does.