Mariners Not Rushing Pineda

SEATTLE—Michael Pineda made a series of quick leaps through the Mariners system. And it seems that it won't be long before he makes that final jump up to the big leagues.

Pineda was 3-2, 3.52 with 53 strikeouts and 11 walks in 46 innings with Triple-A Tacoma. This comes after he went 8-1, 2.22 with 78 strikeouts and 17 walks in 77 innings with Double-A West Tenn.

The 21-year-old, signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2005, throws a 97 mph fastball, a good slider and a changeup. With that repertoire and good command, he has caught the eye of the Mariners, who are in the middle of reconstructing their big league roster in the wake of a horrible season.

General manager Jack Zduriencik has charted Pineda's progress and recently watched him pitch.

"This is a kid who has a chance to do some special things in this game," Zduriencik said. "There's a lot to like with his velocity, with all his pitches. It's no secret that we think he has a very bright future."

What the Mariners have to do now is determine when and where Pineda fits into their plans.
Zduriencik and farm director Pedro Grifol have made it clear that simply having a need at the big league level doesn't mean Pineda will be promoted.

"It's Jack's call, of course, but he's made it clear that we're going to bring him up only when he's ready to make the move," Griffol said. "He's close, but there are still things he needs to work on. But it's the kind of stuff every pitcher his age has to work on. I think he'll be ready sooner rather than later."

Zduriencik backed up Grifol in saying he didn't see any reason to rush Pineda.

"When he gets here, we want him to stay here," Zduriencik said. "We think he has a chance to be a part of our rotation for a long time. It only makes sense to bring him up when we think he's ready."

That could be sooner rather than later.


• Third baseman Alex Liddi won the Southern League player of the week award with a five-homer, 12-RBI performance. He homered in four consecutive games during that span.

• Tacoma was the home for hitting streaks. First baseman Mike Carp had a 17-game streak going, while third baseman Matt Mangini was in the midst of a 16-game streak.