Results tagged ‘ Jose Campos ’
Before continuing their weekend series in Boston, the Yankees received troubling news about pitcher Michael Pineda, their major trade acquisition in the off-season. The righthander was shut down after throwing 15 pitches in an extended spring game Saturday in Tampa when he reported pain in the area behind his pitching shoulder.
Pineda, whom the Yankees obtained from Seattle Jan. 23 with pitching prospect Jose Campos in exchange for catcher Jesus Montero and pitcher Hector Noesi, opened the season on the 15-day disabled list because of right shoulder tendinitis. After resting the shoulder for nearly a month, Pineda was to make his first injury-rehabilitation assignment Saturday but experienced a setback. He is scheduled to undergo tests Monday.
Pineda’s condition means the Yankees need to get improved performances from their current starters, who aside from Ivan Nova have had lackluster results. Andy Pettitte, who is trying to come back to the majors after a year’s inactivity, could very well be needed by the Yankees next month when he presumably will be ready to rejoin them.
Friday marked the centennial of the first game at Fenway Park with the Yankees gaining revenge for having lost the first game 100 years ago by winning this time. On the day after that Fenway opener, the Highlanders (as the Yankees were then known) returned to New York to play an exhibition game against the Giants at the Polo Grounds in a benefit for survivors of RMS Titanic, which sank in the North Atlantic six days earlier. The Giants won the game, 11-2, which raised $9,425.25.
So a relatively quiet winter for the Yankees got pretty noisy on Friday the 13th of this month when general manager Brian Cashman pulled off a trade with Seattle of rookies with enormous potential, a deal which was finalized Monday and has fans of both clubs buzzing about the 2012 season a month before the start of spring training.
This was a bold move for the Yankees, who were in need of help in their rotation but did not see much aid forthcoming among what was available in a free-agent field relatively weak in starting pitchers. Cashman always seems to have the Mariners in mind when looking for pitchers and came close to gobbling up Cliff Lee in the middle of the 2010 season only to have the Rangers scoop up the coveted lefthander, who after that season decided he really wanted to go back to Philadelphia. Cashman also keeps close watch on Felix Hernandez, should the Mariners ever decide he could become too expensive to keep.
In reigning in Michael Pineda, Cashman brought to the Bronx size and youth in one package. The cost was dear, however, and Yankees fans will likely be assessing that price throughout the 2012 season. Jesus Montero, the Yankees’ best hitting prospect since Derek Jeter, won over the fans’ affection in his brief stint with the team last year, which makes his departure difficult to accept.
Of course, you have to give up quality to get quality, but Pineda should realize from the start that he will be scrutinized closely this season by fans who saw in Montero perhaps a second coming of Mike Piazza, a catcher with the ability to hit for average and power to all fields. Just as was the case with Piazza, defense was a sore point for Montero, whom the Yankees used mostly as a designated hitter after his late August callup.
Had Montero stayed with the Yankees, he would have likely continued to be a DH rather than behind the plate where the team is quite pleased with Russell Martin. A possible move to first base was out of the question with the productive and durable Mark Teixeira stationed there. In short, the Yankees did not really have a spot for Montero since they would prefer the DH role as a rotating half-day’s work for their aging veterans.
Besides, the Yankees’ greater need was pitching. Pineda, who just turned 23, is still just a pup, albeit a sizeable one at 6-foot-7 and 260 pounds. The Dominican righthander was 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA in 28 starts for a Seattle club that had the worst offense in the majors last season and earned a place on the American League All-Star staff.
Despite his general success, Pineda did raise some issues last year. He slumped to 1-4 with a 5.12 ERA after the All-Star break following an excellent first half (8-6, 3.03 ERA). He certainly enjoyed the atmosphere of pitcher-friendly Safeco Field where he was 5-4 with a 2.92 ERA in 12 starts. Yankee Stadium’s more hitter-friendly dimensions could pose a challenge to Pineda, who did not pitch there last season. The Stadium was by all means friendly to Montero, who hit .500 with 3 home runs and 11 RBI in 9 games and 30 at-bats in the Bronx.
Pineda will also have to get used to pitching more regularly in AL East yards. He was okay (3.00 ERA) at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., but not so well at Baltimore’s Camden Yards (4.50 ERA) or Toronto’s Rogers Centre (7.11 ERA) and downright awful at Boston’s Fenway Park (14.54 ERA).
There were two other pitchers involved in the deal. Hector Noesi, who did a nice job in long relief for the Yanks last year, accompanied Montero to Seattle where he will get an opportunity to make the rotation. The Yankees also got Jose Campos, 19, one of the Mariners’ top prospects, who pitched in Class A ball in 2011.
Pineda would appear to fit nicely alongside CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova at the top end of the starting pitchers’ unit with Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett and Freddy Garcia in a competition for the other two spots. Spring training will tell how all this will fall out.