Day 9: Bailey signing ‘welcome,’ Pineda throws BP
In case you missed it last night, the Yankees have agreed to sign former A’s and Red Sox reliever Andrew Bailey to a Minor League deal. Bailey isn’t expected to be ready until midseason or so after undergoing shoulder surgery, but if he can stay healthy and pitch like he did for Oakland from 2009-11, he could provide another useful late-inning option for the Yankees.
“It would mean a lot; he’s a great arm. He has a lot of experience, had some good years with Oakland and some good years with Boston until he got injured,” David Robertson said. “He has a lot of experience, so any help in the bullpen is welcome.”
Robertson said he wasn’t threatened by the Yankees signing another reliever with experience closing out games. He also noted how relief roles tend to change and evolve over the course of the season, so it’s hard to tell what Bailey’s job will be by the time he’s healthy enough to pitch in the Majors.
“I look at it as helping the bullpen as a whole. Technically, I haven’t been given the closer job, so I’m just a reliever,” Robertson said. “Whatever is going to make our team stronger and help us get back to the playoffs, that works for me. I’m not going to be mad or annoyed or anything about it right now.”
Elsewhere at George M. Steinbrenner Field this morning, right-hander Michael Pineda threw his first live batting practice session of the spring. Pineda threw to catcher John Ryan Murphy and said he’s feeling “great” and that he’s just trying to get ready to pitch in games.
Murphy said Pineda had “really good” command this morning but added, “I don’t think he’s where he thinks he should be yet, but overall he was pretty good.” Murphy also said Pineda’s been focusing a lot more on his changeup, a third pitch to complement his fastball and breaking ball, and it looked pretty good today as well.
It seemed like Pineda was working a little faster than usual, at least compared to when I saw him rehabbing down here in Tampa, and he may have been a little jumpy. Murphy said pitching coach Larry Rothschild mentioned the same thing and guessed it’s just because Pineda was excited or anxious for his first live BP session.
Still, Murphy said, even now you can see Pineda’s front-line ability every time he throws a pitch.
“He’s got the electric stuff. He’s got a chance to be a high-end guy,” Murphy said. “You can see his potential every pitch.”