Jesus Montero demoted as Michael Pineda, finally, gets close to return

jesus-montero

Jesus Montero made a big splash when he joined the Yankees for 18 games in 2011 and hit .328/.406/.590. That’s why it was so hard to see him traded for a pitcher who almost immediately landed on the DL with a major injury almost immediately.

However, in the year and a half since Michael Pineda went on the DL, Montero has struggled quite a bit in Seattle. Last year he hit a weak .260/.298/.386 while playing mostly DH as a rookie. He’s been even worse this year at .208/.264/.327 in 29 games so far. Montero even got a chance behind the plate this year, but was a colossal disappointment as he allowed 23 stolen bases in 25 starts and just one caught stealing.

This caused the Mariners to demote Montero to Triple-A on Thursday and by most accounts it is not going to be a short trip. His bat, which was supposed to be can’t-miss, needs to be revitalized and, more importantly, they need to find him another position. That’ll most likely be DH, but he’ll get some work at first base too as they try to find a position for the 23-year-old.

Pineda, obviously, wasn’t an immediate success story for the Yankees. He showed up to Spring Training last year out of shape, he hurt his shoulder, and then got a DUI last August. However, Pineda has by all accounts turned his career around since the DUI.

It started with him showing up to Spring Training in great shape this year. He has also been very diligent with his rehab and has managed to avoid the dreaded setbacks that most pitchers coming off shoulder surgery experience.

Lately, Pineda has been pitching in Extended Spring Training and the reports have been positive. Joe Girardi said he thought the ball looked good coming out of his hands and the velocity reports have seen him in the 93-95 mph range. He’s up to 65 pitches and is expected to reach 75 pitches in his next, and final, Extended Spring Training game.

After that he’ll move on to real minor league games probably starting at High-A Tampa where he’ll be nearly ready to pitch full games almost from the start. Once he does that he starts a 30-day rehab period which, considering he’ll be going in stretched out to about 85 pitches, should be plenty of time to get him ready for a late June/early July return to the Bronx.

A year ago everyone and their mothers were bashing this trade saying that the Yankees got ripped off. Already I have heard the opposite that the Yankees will “win” this trade if they get anything at all out of Pineda. However, I would caution that it’s still too early to determine.

The trade looked bad for the Yankees a year ago and now, while it doesn’t look great, is looking much better. The thing is though that both players are still very young. Montero is a mess offensively, but he’s also a mess defensively and I can’t help but wonder if one is carrying over to the other.

Meanwhile, we have not seen anything from Pineda yet. So while the reports of his return are completely positive we still haven’t seen if his shoulder can still get major league hitters out. Signs are positive though. We’ll just have to wait and see.

OTHER NOTES

• Hiroki Kuroda‘s bruised calf felt better Thursday so expect him to make his next start.

• It looks like Mark Teixeira will begin his rehab assignment with Double-A Trenton on Tuesday. Position players get 21 rehab days so with no setbacks the latest he’ll return is June 18.

• Kevin Youkilis has begun taking at bats in simulated games. He’s expected back shortly after Teixeira.

• Joba Chamberlain, strained oblique, tossed an inning in Extended Spring Training. No word on exactly when he’ll be back, but he’s getting closer.

• The Yankees are interested in Japanese righty Masahiro Tanaka, who is expected to be posted this offseason, according to Nick Cafardo. He’s 24-years-old and has a 2.08 ERA, 45 K’s, and nine walks in 52 innings so far.

• Recently DFA’d shortstop Alberto Gonzalez has cleared waivers and been sent to Triple-A.

• Willie Randolph will represent the Yankees at the draft.

Photo credit: (May 18, 2013 - Source: Jason Miller/Getty Images North America).

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One Response to Jesus Montero demoted as Michael Pineda, finally, gets close to return

  1. Tanned Tom says:

    Not everyone was bashing this trade. Montero is a player without a position, and a veteran team like the NYY can't afford a 23 year old DH. Also there were plenty of stories of the team not liking his work ethic. A player with that sort of profile, even if a better hitter than he has shown, will never be a good fit in NY. They traded a scrub (Noesi) and a no-defense catcher for 2 young pitchers with very high ceilings. This was a good trade for NY then, and will only look better when Pineda comes back in July. This was a great trade, how it works out we will see, but this is the kind of trade you make every single time.