Countdown to Spring Training: Day 7

Michael Pineda

The Yankees have been waiting for their young pitcher Michael Pineda to be healthy. When Pineda was first traded it seemed that it was a sure thing that he would become the ace. Well, that promise was nearly lost completely when Pineda tore his labrum in a spring training game that required surgery.

It’s been a long road back for Pineda, but he’s finally healthy and ready to compete for the fifth starter spot in spring training. He’ll need to find a way to show that his two year absence was only a small bump in the road.

Since pitchers and catchers have reported to camp in Tampa, reports have been trickling out that the coaching staff has been impressed with what they’ve seen out of Pineda so far.

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that he’s seen improved velocity, giving reason why the Yankees are “quietly encouraged and excited” about where Pineda is currently at.

Pineda says he doesn’t know how hard he’s been throwing so far this spring, and right now that doesn’t matter, but Joe Girardi says that reports had Pineda at 93-94 mph during his rehab last season. A couple ticks higher would go a long way, and Pineda says he feels powerful.

Girardi says Pineda seems to be throwing with ease. These are all positives for a pitcher that underwent surgery that could have easily restricted him to 85 mph.

Hearing that Pineda feels 100% and that the coaching staff has liked what they see out of him is encouraging as news for the Yankees. It may not happen in April, but it would be really disappointing for Pineda to be overlooked for the big league club again in 2014.

A strong showing in spring training would likely give Pineda the necessary bump to beat out David Phelps or Vidal Nuno for the final spot, even though he will almost certainly be on some sort of innings limit until his body adjusts back to throwing 100 pitches every five days.

All this good news seems to go to be true for New York. But, Pineda is taking it one day at a time.

For more on this story visit: Tanya Bondurant, SB Nation