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August 28, 2010 at 11:47 AM

Michael Pineda update and other pre-game notes

Here are today’s lineups:
Dendard Span CF
Orlando Hudson 2B
Joe Mauer C
Jason Kubel RF
Michael Cuddyer 1B
Jim Thome DH
Delmon Young LF
Danny Valencia 3B
JJ Hardy SS
Nick Blackburn RHP (7-8, 6.49)
Ichiro RF
Chone Figgins 2B
Russ Branyan DH
Jose Lopez 3B
Casey Kotchman 1B
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Ryan Langerhans LF
Josh Bard C
Josh Wilson SS
Doug Fister RHP (4-9, 3.87)
There is much speculation that the Mariners will shut down 21-year-old pitcher Michael Pineda, the top prospect in their farm system, for the rest of the season. I talked to Jack Zduriencik, who said that there will be an organizational meeting “in the next day or so” to discuss the matter.
“We’ll make the decision that’s best for his future, that’s in his and our best interests,” Zduriencik said.

My hunch is that Pineda, who has gotten roughted up a bit in his last couple of starts, and has thrown 92 more innings than last year, is done. Zduriencik hinted as much when he told me, “We’re getting very close to not extending him any further.”
That would be a wise decision, especially in light of the Stephen Strasburg news this week. There’s no need to push things with coveted young pitchers. Last year, Pineda had two stints on the disabled list with an elbow strain, and worked just 47 1/3 innings, most of it at Class A High Desert. This year, he started the season at Class AA West Tennessee, working 77 innings and going 8-1 with a 2.22 ERA. Since being promoted to Tacoma, he’s 3-3 with a 4.76 ERA in 62 1/3 innings. Combined, Pineda has struck out 154 in 139 1/3 innings. The best news is that he hasn’t had any arm issues.
“He’s going to be an outstanding arm,” Mariners manager Daren Brown said of Pineda. “He’s going to be a piece of our future, whether he’s up here or not this year. Going into spring training, he will be someone we’re looking at. For me, it’s about what’s best for him and having him healthy. The main concern is having him healthy for 2011. ”
Brown added, “I haven’t heard the decision yet. It’s getting to what we had talked about innings wise. It will be something that will be looked at. I’d imagine with where he’s right now, and the last couple starts he had, there will be a decision here pretty quick.”
The Mariners also face a decision on whether or not to bring up Dustin Ackley, the No. 2 pick in the 2009 draft behind Strasburg. He is hitting .280 in 42 games with Tacoma.
“It’s one of those things again, what’s best for the kid?” Brown said. “Is it best for him to go home and rest up a bit and go to the Fall League? That’s hard to say. You can look at it either way. For me, it’s always, what’s best for him. He is swinging the bat well. I know he’s a guy that’s going to hit., I saw him 20 games down there. He’s learning a new position, still working at it. I was down there Thursday, saw him doing early work, turning double plays. It’s good to see. He’s come a long ways this year. We’ll do what’s best for him. If he needs to go home and rest for the Fall League, that’s what we’ll do.”
Brown, by the way, was in Tacoma on Thursday to move some of his belongings, and stopped by the clubhouse before their game to say hello to his former players.
“I spent around 100 games with that group of kids,” he said. “They were in first when I left, and they’re still in first. I wanted them to know I haven’t forgotten about them. I care about them. When you’re battling with them every day for 100 games, you don’t just leave and not care what’s going on with them. I told them I hope when they get an opportunity to celebrate, they can think about me a little bit.”

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins


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