NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Remember Michael Pineda, Yankees fans?
You might have erased him from your memory, but now it’s time to think about the right-handed starter again.
The hard-throwing 24-year-old was acquired by the Yankees in a trade on January 13, 2012. Since being in the organization, he hasn’t pitched a single inning for the Bronx Bombers.
That’s expected to change this summer.
Pineda is set to begin a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Tampa on Saturday. He threw 65 pitches in an extended spring training game on Monday and reported no discomfort.
Once Pineda is ready to return, general manager Brian Cashman will decide whether to immediately slot him into the Yankees’ rotation or option him to the minor leagues.
“Now he’ll be competing with everything that’s (involved with) taking the ball every five days up here,” Cashman said. “By the fourth, fifth and sixth rehab start, we’ll be able to compare him to what we have there versus what we have here and slot him accordingly.”
Cashman said that Pineda will remain a starting pitcher when he makes his return, as the club has no plans to turn him into a reliever.
“If he’s better than anything we have up here, he’ll come here,” Cashman said. “If we don’t think he’s better than what we’ve got, he’ll go to Triple-A.”
Pineda suffered an anterior labral tear in his right shoulder in 2012 and subsequently underwent arthroscopic surgery, ending his season.
In his rookie campaign in 2011, Pineda was an All-Star for the Mariners. The 6-foot-7, 265-pounder went 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA. He struck out 173 and walked 55 in 171 innings.
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