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August 28, 2010 at 4:07 PM

It’s official: Michael Pineda shut down for rest of year, has “great chance” to make 2011 club, Zduriencik says

Jack Zduriencik held a briefing after the Mariners’ 1-0 loss to announce that the team has decided, as expected, to shut down 21-year-old pitcher Michael Pineda for the remainder of the year. There are no physical problems, but the Mariners decided to make the move pre-emptively, because Pineda has reached nearly 140 innings. He threw just 47 last year and also had two stints on the disabled list with elbow problems.
“We’ve been talking about this for a month or so,” Zduriencik said. “Michael Pineda will be shut down. The simple reason is innings. We had gauged he would pitch between 140 and 150 inning this year…Our decision was that we think this is a prized product of ours, and it’s a guy we want to protect. He’s been told this morning it’s going to happen.”


Pineda, the top prospect in the Mariner farm system, will remain with Tacoma until its season is finished. Zduriencik said he may join the Mariners for a few days to get a taste of the major leagues, and then go to Arizona until the end of the instructional league. At that point, he’ll go home to the Dominican Republic before returning to Arizona in January to prepare for spring training.
And, when spring training opens, Pineda will be competing for a spot in the rotation, Zduriencik said.
“I think when he comes to camp next year, that should be the mindset he has,” Zduriencik said. “We’ve seen this guy dominate this year. He’s a young kid, 21. You never know how a kid at 22 will react in spring training. All the earmarks are there. This guy has a chance to have a very good future. This is the right thing to do now. We feel strongly this guy will have a great chance to make our club.”
Zduriencik stressed, “There are no issues here. There’s nothing physically wrong with him. It’s strictly an innings issue. We think it’s the best thing to do for our best future and his best future to stop it right now. He’s shut down and he’ll begin a strength and conditioning program. …One more outing won’t make or break this guys career.”
Pineda was 3-3 with a 4.76 ERA in 12 starts (62 1/3 innings) for Class AAA Tacoma, and 8-1, 2.22 in 13 starts (77 innings) for Class AAA West Tennessee. Combined, he struck out 154 in those 139 1/3 innings.

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