Spring Training is usually a time of year where pitchers and position players sharpen their skills before the regular season, along with competitions for various open spots on the team. While most competitions this spring usually have to do with a backup role, the competition to watch in Yankees camp was who was going to get the fifth spot in the rotation and which pitchers would go to the bullpen. This particular competition surely did not disappoint as David Phelps, Michael Pineda and Adam Warren (along with the outside competitor Vidal Nuno) made the decision tough for Joe Girardi. However as the competition winds down, Phelps and Pineda are the only two options standing and Girardi will have to choose which one would fit best into the rotation.
David Phelps has pitched extremely well for the Yankees and he’s very versatile. Unfortunately, his versatility could go against him since he’s able to pitch in any situation out of the pen. With Phelps’s versatility a factor, all signs point to Michael Pineda for the final spot. Pineda’s had a fantastic spring, giving up two runs in 15 innings of work and striking out 16 with his effective sinker but while many have predicted Pineda will win the the job, the decision will be up to Girardi.
“(We will choose) who we think is going to help us the most, and what we think is going to make us the best team,’ Girardi said to the New York Daily News. “It’s more what makes us the best team than anything else. How do we put a 12-man pitching staff together that makes us feel the best leaving the gate?”
If Pineda wins the fifth starter role, it would help the Yankees salvage a trade that appeared useless for both teams involved. The Seattle Mariners haven’t seen any progress from Jesus Montero and the Yankees have yet to see Pineda pitch in a Major League game. With Pineda two seasons removed from shoulder surgery, he aims for this to be his comeback season.
“Every day I’m coming here to the field, and working hard, and continue doing good at my job.” Pineda said. “You know, I want to make it.”