Is Pineda a lock as the Yankees’ No. 2 starter?
As the dust settles from Friday’s big deal between the Yankees and Mariners, many – this space included – have been touting Michael Pineda as a good fit to slide behind CC Sabathia in the Yankees’ rotation. But that may not be the case if the Yankees choose a more conservative route with bringing the hard-throwing righty into the 2012 season.
A person familiar with the Yankees’ thinking said this weekend that Pineda shouldn’t be considered a lock as the Yankees’ No. 2 starter, and added that cases could be made for Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes, Hiroki Kuroda and even A.J. Burnett in that spot over Pineda.
“It’s not my decision, but I would not slot him there,” the person said. “I think he’s got a chance to get there someday, but I wouldn’t be looking for that soon. … From my standpoint, there’s still development here that needs to take place. This is not a finished product. I would not put him in the situation where, hey, you’re starting Game 2. But maybe that’s ultimately what gets decided.”
One point of concern is Pineda’s changeup, which still needs to be thrown more to become a reliable pitch for him. Right now, he’s been succeeding largely behind his fastball and slider. This much is certain – with seven arms to fit five slots, the rotation promises to be a good topic of discussion for manager Joe Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild in Spring Training.