ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- If it weren’t for the pine tar and another injury, then the buzz around Michael Pineda would be pretty intense.
But let's eliminate the embarrassment of the pine tar scar and forget that he missed nearly four months of action and focus on how incredible Pineda has pitched.
In 10 starts, he is just 3-4, but his ERA is 2.20. He has looked like a dominant No. 1 or 2 type pitcher.
New York Yankees
When you think about the building blocks for 2015, Pineda very well could enter as the starter the Yankees feel the most confident about, which is pretty amazing. It is a testament to what he has shown on the mound and an uneasiness amongst his teammates.
Even in his last time out, against the Rays, when Pineda allowed a career-high ten hits, he showed something by only giving up four runs in 7 1/3 innings. If it weren’t for Yunel Escobar -- who went deep twice off Pineda -- the numbers would have been even better.
Pineda showed a professionalism, keeping the game close as he allowed more than two earned runs for the first time all season. The thought that he might be impacted by the pine tar situation is over. Since he has returned from the suspension/upper back injury, he has a 2.39 ERA in six starts.
Another encouraging sign from Pineda has been his control. Coming off the serious shoulder surgery, it is sometimes hard to have the same feeling in your motion. Pineda is actually better than before as evidenced by his 102 straight batters (26 2/3 innings) without a walk.
You add it all up and Pineda is the surest thing for the Yankees' staff going into '14. It is both exciting and scary for them.