Michael Pineda hasn’t pitched in the majors since September 2011. Since then, he was traded from Seattle to the Yankees, showed up overweight, had shoulder surgery and become a cautionary tale about young pitchers. He’s hoping that narrative changes this year as he battles for a spot in the Yankees rotation, insisting he is healthy and in shape. “I’m going to compete for the rotation,” Pineda said. “I’m the same Michael Pineda. I’m 100 percent now and my body is in good shape.” If that’s the case, he has as good a shot as anyone of winning the final slot behind CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Masahiro Tanaka and Ivan Nova. When asked Monday if he considered himself the favorite in a contest that figures to also include David Phelps, Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno, Pineda declined to handicap it. “I don’t know,” Pineda said as he was leaving the team’s minor league complex. “I’m not really paying attention [to whether] I’m the favorite or not. I’m focused on my job and doing good and making it through spring training.” And despite his promise he was the “same Michael Pineda,” it’s likely not true, because he isn’t expected to regain the high-90s fastball he had during his rookie season with the Mariners. Nevertheless, the Yankees will take their chances with a healthy, in-shape Pineda, who is 25. “I know I had the surgery and the injury to my shoulder, but I’m feeling stronger and the shoulder is feeling good,” said Pineda, adding he was down to 260 pounds.
Yankees’ Pineda ‘100 percent,’ ready to compete for starter’s job
New York Post | Feb 11