During the 2011-2012 offseason, the New York Yankees made a big splash when they traded their top prospect Jesus Montero along with right-handed pitcher Hector Noesi to the Seattle Mariners for promising young starter Michael Pineda and hard-throwing righty Jose Campos.
The trade was risky for both teams as is usually the case when it comes to a swap of two young players. However, the deal suddenly became even more venturesome for the Yankees when the biggest piece that the team received, Pineda, suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery.
Now a year later, Pineda is working his way back for the Yankees and it doesn’t look like the injury had any sort of lasting affect on his pitching ability. That was evident during his throwing session yesterday where he was topping out at 95 mph and threw above 93 mph consistently.
Brian Cashman said earlier this week that Pineda looks like he is on course to make his Yankees debut at some point in June — obviously an encouraging sign, seeing as he has had so many setbacks during this rehab process.
When Pineda joined the Yankees, he was expected to give them a dominant 1-2 punch with fellow 6-foot-7 pitcher C.C. Sabathia, and now it looks that remains a strong possibility.
Pineda had a strong rookie season in 2011 that saw him go 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA and 173 strikeouts in only 171 innings. He also finished fifth in the voting for the rookie of the year award. However, he did have typical rookie struggles in the second half after a very hot start to the year.
If all goes right, Pineda can and will play a very big role for the future of the Yankees, and it’ll all get underway in the next month or so.
Chris Ronca is a New York Yankees writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter; @ChrisRonca.