Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Not What Yankees Expected

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Not What Yankees Expected

Article excerpt

TAMPA, Fla. - Michael Pineda received an early knockout from Friday night's pivotal start. Afterward, he complained of soreness behind his right shoulder, a condition that might have ended his quest to crack the Yankees' starting rotation this spring.

"Today, my arm is a little sore," Pineda said Friday night after yielding six runs on seven hits and three walks in just 2 2/3 innings against a representative Phillies lineup at Steinbrenner Field in the Yankees' 13-9 victory.

A sullen Pineda, 23, admitted that he "tried to throw harder," but that his mechanics were fouled up. Overall he was "a little bit" upset by his performance - especially his fastball command.

But this was the first time Pineda's missing velocity has been linked to a physical issue with his arm.

Though he induced swings and misses and slight contact on breaking pitches and the occasional change-up, Pineda's fastball was in question again. He touched 94 mph once on the radar gun but was mostly at 90-91 mph.

Pineda's 71st and final pitch was an 89-mph fastball that No. 8 hitter Carlos Ruiz ripped to the left field wall for a three-run double.

Earlier Friday, veteran Freddy Garcia had pitched well on the minor-league side. And the Yankees' already had put Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes in line to start the third and fourth game of the season.

Manager Joe Girardi still wants the weekend to talk things out with his coaches, but it certainly appeared that the final rotation spot had come down to Pineda or Garcia.

"We still have decisions to make," Girardi said before Pineda's start.

The manager already had witnessed Garcia's afternoon start, where the right-hander yielded one earned run in 6 2/3 innings against the Pirates' Class AAA affiliate.

On Friday night, general manager Brian Cashman, top assistant Billy Eppler and top adviser Gene Michael were seated behind home plate for Pineda's sixth spring training start. …

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