Joel Pineiro did not pitch last season and was last seen in the Majors in 2011, but the right-hander is on the comeback trail. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports that Pineiro has been pitching in Puerto Rico during the off-season and he’ll make a start against a Cuban team on Tuesday.
“I have had 11 years in the big leagues, so I’m not complaining, but I’m not ready to shut it down,” he said. “I’m 35 and I told my wife this would be my last real push at it. I have four kids, my oldest is in middle school, but I still have the desire and love for the game.”
Pineiro is now 35 years old and struggled to miss bats in his last stint in the Majors in 2011 with the Angels. However, he had two decent seasons prior to that, and it wouldn’t be unheard of if he came back with a little left in the tank. In what seems to be the year of the comeback — Mark Mulder, for example, is attempting a comeback with the Angels after a five-year layoff — now is as good a time as ever for Pineiro to revive his playing career.
Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”
Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”
Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.