Discussion: Six-man rotation?

Yesterday, we heard Yankee pitching coach Larry Rothschild suggest that the Yankees may use six starters for a particularly tough stretch–30 games in 31 days–in April and May. Bryan Hoch’s story later in the day included a clarifying quotation from Rothschild:

“It’s a result of some of the stuff that’s gone on over the last few years, not just here, but everywhere,” Rothschild said. “We’re aware of situations here and early in the season, we need to get these guys through these stretches. Being that possibly early in the spring, some of them aren’t going to be able to throw a lot, we’re going to need to build them up too and give them the extra days when we can.”

My gut reaction to a six-man rotation in the past has always been aversion, and probably for good reason. Six-man rotations give a possibly fringy starter starts and they take starts away from the top pitchers in the rotation. However, the 2015 Yankee rotation is making me rethink things.… Click here to read the rest

Why players don’t care about Michael Pineda’s “dirt”

Bk6idBvIAAEsBRAMichael Pineda threw with the type of gusto through Thursday he had three years ago when the Yankees traded for him from Seattle.

His slider made batters look foolish. His fastball set up off-speed pitches. And he mixed in a cutter and changeup to keep the Boston Red Sox off-balance.

However, on Friday morning, no one seemed to be talking about Pineda’s pitching performance. Instead, it was about the substance on Pineda’s pitching hand. Television stills showed a brown substance on the base of the palm of his hand.

Pineda called it dirt. Others called it pine tar.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he didn’t know anything about it.

The Red Sox players said it didn’t matter.

There are reasons that it doesn’t matter to Boston – or most players asked around the league.

1. No one wants to be the team to point it out. If a manager does, he will set up his own team for the same kind of scrutiny.… Click here to read the rest

Do You Hear That, Phil?

Hughes vs LAD

Do you?  You should listen to it a little closer.  That’s the sound of Michael Pineda coming.  That’s the sound of your rotation spot disappearing in about a month, and possibly a nice chunk of your upcoming free agent money with it.  Take a look around, buddy.  You’re the weak link in the rotation, and the truth is you have been since the minute Ivan got DL’d.  You’re sitting with a 5.09/4.43/4.41 split now, with just as many bad starts as good this season after another Phil Hughes 101 clinic last night- missing in the strike zone with fastballs, inconsistency with the offspeed stuff, no ability at all to put hitters away with 2 strikes.  It’s all just getting old, dude.  You’re waking up today coming off another stinker and Pineda is pitching again tonight down in Tampa.  It’s already setting up for you to be bumped.

And guess what?  This time the Yankees won’t shuffle guys around and roll out the red carpet for you in the bullpen.  … Click here to read the rest

Pineda Makes His First Official Rehab Start Today

It was hinted at before his last ExST start on Monday, confirmed later in the week after he came through that outing without any further fingernail problems, and it will become a reality tonight.  Almost some 17 months after first being traded, Michael Pineda will throw his first in-game pitches in a Yankee uniform.

A Tampa Yankee uniform, sure, but that’s still good news for the guy who was brought in to be the king of hearts to CC’s ace.  Pineda will get the start for Tampa tonight against the Lakeland Flying Tigers and everybody will get their first chance to see how he looks pitching in a real game.  The reports on his bullpen, sim gam, and ExST game work have all been incredibly encouraging, with his velocity regularly sitting in the low-to-mid 90s range the last few times he’s pitched.  This somewhat surprising quick return of said velocity has added a hint of excitement to this rehab comeback, and with the Yankee rotation depth taking a few hits in the last 24 hours due to Wang’s opt out and Nuno’s injury, Pineda’s chances of moving right into the rotation are getting even better.… Click here to read the rest

Pineda’s Rotation Chances Improving With Every Rotation Problem

Michael Pineda, Larry Rothschild

It’s been almost a year and a half since the Yankees acquired Michael Pineda.  Sometimes it feels like it’s been even longer than that.  The reports about his early spring performance in sim games and bullpen sessions has been more than encouraging, but yesterday he took the next real step in his comeback when the team announced that he would begin his 30-day MiL rehab assignment this Saturday with High-A Tampa.  He was reportedly sitting mid-90s again in his latest ExST start on Monday and hasn’t had any physical issues outside of a cracked fingernail to hold him back.  At long last, the Yanks and us Yankee fans, will get a look at their haul from that now infamous January, 2012 trade.

This next big comeback step for Pineda will be his first big step in a Yankee career that has yet to even have one.  Pineda’s only Yankee-related claim to fame is being the pitcher who got hurt and missed the season right after the team traded its best prospect for him.  … Click here to read the rest

Is Michael Pineda Ahead Of Schedule? Should We Be Excited About That?

(Courtesy of the AP)

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod

Michael Pineda came to Yankee camp last year with high expectations.  He was a hulking 23-year-old kid coming off an impressive rookie season, the Yankees had just traded their best prospect in years to acquire him, and he represented the first significant move in the Yankees’ efforts to get younger and get below the $189 million payroll threshold.  Long story short, those expectations were far from being met after Pineda showed up to camp overweight, struggled with his velocity and command, and eventually missed the whole 2012 season with a labrum tear in his pitching shoulder.

Pineda came to camp this year with no expectations.  He started his rehab throwing program in the fall, and the early words coming back from Brian Cashman and the coaching staff focused more on the idea of Pineda not pitching at all in 2013 than on exactly when he would be back.  Since arriving in Tampa, however, there’s been a pretty noticeable shift in the Pineda discussion and evaluation, and there seems to be a renewed sense of positivity about the progress he’s making.  … Click here to read the rest

Revisiting the blockbuster trade that wasn’t

In January before the 2012 season the Yankees went all-in on their rotation. They announced the signing of free-agent pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, a move that was largely expected, and, in bigger news, they announced they had acquired Michael Pineda in exchange for Jesus Montero. Yankee fans knew Montero well. For several seasons he was heralded as the middle of the order bat waiting in the farm system for his chance to impact the Yankees. All of baseball knew Pineda, who had just come off a successful, if uneven, rookie season. The trade was controversial. Montero had raked in his cup of coffee the year prior, but it was clear the Yankees wanted to improve the team through the rotation.

Of course the trade had exactly zero impact on the Yankee season. Pineda suffered a career threatening injury in spring training and will be back in the beginning of the 2013 season at the earliest. Montero, meanwhile, struggled in Seattle.… Click here to read the rest

X-factor in 2013 – young Yankee starters

Phelps first run in the Bigs was satisfying. Can he grow from here?

Since 2007, when Joba Chamberlain was called up to the majors and became an overnight sensation, the Yankees have consistently been able to reach into their farm system to find young pitching talent capable of filling in an immediate need adequately, if not always brilliantly. After Joba it was Phil Hughes in 2009 and 2010. In 2011 it was Ivan Nova. In 2012 the Yankees turned to David Phelps. If we add Michael Pineda to that list, who should be able to return in the second half of 2013, then the Yankees have a lot of depth, and a lot of question marks, in the bottom of their rotation.

What makes 2013 interesting, and promising, is that it has the potential to be the first season since 2008 that the Yankees could choose to put three young arms in their starting rotation. This isn’t as crazy as it might seem at first.… Click here to read the rest

Pushing Back Pineda’s Recovery Timetable To Prevent Super Two Status

There was some discussion in March that the Yankees might hold off on putting Michael Pineda in the major league rotation immediately. By optioning the right handed pitcher down for the first month, they’d prevent him from adding up the necessary service time to earn Super Two status. The idea was absurd at that point, the Yankees would gladly give a player another year of arbitration eligibility instead of preventing the numerous issues that could arise.

(US Presswire)

The organization never had to make that decision though, because Pineda hit the disable list in Spring Training and hasn’t returned since. While he racked up a year of service time on the DL this season, the team lost out on a year of control at league minimum salary. When it comes to 2013, Pineda and the Yankees are in a different situation, and it makes more sense that they’d option him down. In fact, a new timetable for his recovery, which was announced yesterday, may hint at this very possibility.… Click here to read the rest