It will be at least two more weeks before Michael Pineda finally joins the Yankees’ starting rotation, but the 24-year-old Dominican righty is already showing legitimate signs of readiness.
Pineda allowed just one (unearned) run over 4 2/3 innings on Sunday afternoon in his minor league rehab debut with High-A Tampa. Facing the Tigers’ High-A affiliate in Lakeland, Florida, he yielded only two hits and one walk while tallying four strikeouts.
Pineda was acquired from the Mariners in January 2012 for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi, but he suffered a shoulder injury that spring and underwent a major surgical procedure a few weeks later. His full rehab and recovery, assuming he suffers no setbacks, is going to wind up taking close to 14 months.
Pineda posted a cool 3.74 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 9.1 K/9 across 171 innings with Seattle in 2011.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Nationals will ask to speak with Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora after the American League Championship Series concludes on Saturday. This comes on the heels of the news that club manager Dusty Baker will not be returning to the team in 2018.
Cora, 42, has some experience in the Nationals’ organization. He played for the Nats during his last big league stint in 2011, batting .224/.287/.276 through 91 games before announcing his retirement in the spring of 2012. Per Cafardo, he was also offered a player development gig with the club, but has not appeared in any kind of official role with them since his days as a major league infielder. While he’s been lauded for his leadership skills and strong clubhouse presence, he hasn’t acquired any managerial experience since his retirement, save for a handful of games with the Astros where he filled in for A.J. Hinch.
Despite the appeal of having a familiar face in the dugout, the Nationals aren’t the only ones eyeing Cora. The Astros’ coach has already interviewed with the Tigers, Mets and Red Sox this month. Boston appears to be the current favorite to land him and according to at least one source, may even announce his hiring in advance of the World Series next Tuesday.