Mariners Insider

Mariners will make a decision on Michael Pineda in coming days

Post by Ryan Divish on Aug. 27, 2010 at 5:27 pm with 4 Comments »
August 27, 2010 5:38 pm

TNT file photo - Drew Perine

Michael Pineda had a less than stellar outing last night for the Tacoma Rainiers. The Mariners’ top pitching prospect struggled against the Portland Beavers, lasting 3 2/3 innings, giving up six runs on eight hits with a walk and five strikeouts. He threw 81 pitches with just 53 strike.

That outing puts his total number of innings pitched between Double A West Tenn and Triple A Tacoma at 139 1/3innings this year. That’s the most he’s ever throw in a season. And it might be all he throws for the rest of this season.

The Mariners have closely monitored Pineda’s pitch counts and innings pitched all season being extra cautious with their prized prospect.

Why?

A year ago, Pineda was bothered by elbow problems and  pitched just 47 1/3 innings.  This year, he’s nearly tripled that workload. He’s been healthy the whole season, never missing a start or a bullpen session. But realistically it’s time for the Mariners to shut him down for the rest of the season.

There was some thought that Pineda would make one more start – his turn in the rotation would be Wednesday against Colorado Springs. However after last night’s outing, it looks like he could be shut down for the remainder of the season.

The Mariners front office and staff are in the process of making that decision.

“We’ll decide in the next couple of days what is best for his future and for the organization’s future,” Mariners director of minor league operations said. “We’ll come up with something in the next 48 hours.”

Grifol was on hand at Cheney Stadium to watch Pineda’s outing and talked to him after the game.

“He says he feels great,” Grifol said. “No problems and he feels strong.”

But that doesn’t mean Pineda isn’t fighting fatigue from the building innings.

“He feels great and that’s normally what happens toward the end of the season when you get pushed to a limit you haven’t been before – you’re body feels great,” Grifol said. “He’s a big strong guy and durable. But it’s that part of the year, he’s never been there before in his career.”

Yes, Pineda pitched 138 1/3 innings for Class A Wisconsin, but Grifol dismissed that as a standard.

“That’s A ball – low A Ball,” Grifol said. “These are professional hitter that he’s facing down there. He’s got to work a little harder and he  can’t make mistakes. He’s been taken to a level where he hasn’t been before, so we’ll sit down and talk about the next couple days and see what we come up with.”

Personally, I thought Pineda showed some signs of physical fatigue. His velocity on his fastball was pretty good, topping out at 97 mph and sitting usually around 94-96. However, he didn’t have good command of the pitch – many of them up in the zone and his slider lacked some of the depth that it usually has. He just wasn’t as crisp as I’ve seen him when he first got called up to Tacoma. The life on some of his pitches was missing despite him feeling strong.

Also with the lack of command on his pitches, Pineda was throwing fastball after fastball. That’s not why they moved him to Triple A. He was supposed to work on “pitching”  not “throwing.”

Conor Dowley of Proball NW was there last night and thought the same thing.

Obviously, the news of Stephen Strasburg’s torn UCL and upcoming Tommy John surgery will make Mariners fans a little paranoid about Pineda. But thus far the Mariners have done everything right with Pineda. Then again, it seemed like the Nationals did too. Grifol thought so.

“Things just happen,” Grifol said. “The Nationals, in my opinion, did a tremendous job with Strasburg. They put him in the minor leagues and kept him on a nice schedule. It’s just one of those things that can happen to anyone at any time.”

It is disappointing that we probably won’t get to see Pineda pitch in the big leagues, or even help the Rainiers in the PCL playoffs, which will be played in Safeco Field. But you have to do what’s best for the team and the player. And right now, shutting him down for the season seems like the best thing. He’s 21 years old, there’s plenty of time to get to the big leagues. There certainly is no reason to rush him. The rebuilding process won’t happen overnight and he’s a big part of it.

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Leave a comment Comments → 4
  1. SharkHawk says:

    And Dave goes bonkers that a guy isn’t allowed to pitch 400 innings like “the old days”. You can see why…. look at Strasburg. I am guessing that he should have pitched through it though, right? Because we all know that if he weren’t coddled like a little girl then his arm wouldn’t have gotten hurt. Cy Young never got hurt dammit. Neither did Walter Johnson or Warren Spaan. They all just kept throwing until their arm fell off and if it wouldn’t have been for those stupid relievers arm injuries would completely disappear. Totally. They’d cease to exist. Just like my man Sandy Koufax who pitched like 30 years and never suffered a day of arm discomfort in his life. You didn’t see Koufax needing a reliever, or suffering from a dead arm and having his career cut in half due to it. NO sir. In those days men were men and Koufax was the king of the mound and it’s a good thing they worked him so hard so that he didn’t become a sissy who would have to quit at the prime of his life due to an arm condition.

  2. dave8557 says:

    I think Shark needs to read some baseball history. I don’t think a pitcher has ever thrown 400 innings. Maybe Cy Young. But in the modern day, only Wilbur Wood, a knuckleballer came close. Your ranting exposes your lack of knowledge about baseball.

    All the pitchers you mention above quit baseball because they were over 40 and needed to retire after illustrious careers. Each of them would have still been pitching if allowed. Maybe you don’t understand that a pitcher can’t throw as well at 40 than at 20. I think you should move over to a football board Shark as you don’t understand baseball. Please go to your local library and read. I’ll give you about 20 years to catch up, but it may not help. Please include the autobiorgaphy of Sandy Koufax in your reading and you might understand something about the man.

    No Shark, pitchers should be allowed to throw when they are effective. It may be 9 innings one game, six innings in another game, maybe only a coupe innings another game. Over the course of a season, a good pitcher will through between 250 and 275 innings. There are flukes where someone may throw 300 innings, like Nolan Ryan.

    So Strassberg is injured. That’s too bad. Even being limited to five innigns per start, if a person’s arm isn’t capable of throwing a baseball, he’s going to get injured. The game is 9 innings. People get injured. If they can’t play the game they get out. Hopefully Strassberg will make a comeback, but it’s not likely he’ll be the same pitcher. Just like Tommy John was not the same pitcher but went on to have an outstanding career, throwing 9 innings on a regular basis.

    The more baseball restricts pitchers, the worse off the game will be. Every pitcher can’t throw for 15 years. They should be allowed to pitch well while they can. You limit a young pitcher like Felix in his 20’s so he can pitch into his late 30’s? It doesn’t make any sense. Ideally you would hope he’d have a 10 year career. You groom pitchers to endure a whole season, just like outfielders or shortstops or catchers. That is the beauty of the game. Not everyone can do it. That’s why the Hall of Fame has so few players as a ratio to those who have played. That’s what makes a Hall of Fame player so special.

  3. Shark, Thanks for taking over while I was out. Excellent presentation of the bait.

    Dave, you are obsessed with a philosophy that has no relationship to science. Understanding of the impacts of overuse is now well understood and applied in all sports, including baseball, which is certainly not known as a paragon of modern scientific thinking.

    But hey Don Quixote, keep on tilting at those windmills.

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