The New York Yankees and their fans are eager to see Michael Pineda pitch. The 24-year old was acquired prior to last season from the Seattle Mariners in a trade that sent Jesus Montero to Seattle. Pineda then promptly began having shoulder issues and was shut down for the entire 2012 season. He still won't be ready for the start of this season, but it looks like he could make his debut in June.
Pineda, whom the Yankees had some concerns about pitching at all this season, has continued his rehab and made some big strides this offseason. Bryan Hoch of MLB.com says Pineda has been throwing some side sessions and has performed well enough for the team to target a June return.
"I really wanted to pitch. Last year was a really bad year for me," Pineda said. "I learned from the whole situation from last year and everything is in the past. I'm very excited for this year, my shoulder is doing well, and I'm ready to pitch this year."
Pineda showed plenty of promise while in the Mariners organization. He started 28 games in 2011 and posted a 3.74 ERA. The team had high hopes for his continued improvement and success, but they needed a bat. So they traded Pineda away. The Yankees shared the high hopes the Mariners had for the young righty, but shoulder problems ultimately led to surgery and New York still hasn't seen him pitch.
In the minors, Pineda appeared in 86 games and posted a 2.49 ERA. No one is quite sure what he will do once he returns to the mound for the Yankees, but if he can make it back by June, there's a chance that Pineda can give New York a nice mid-season boost.