Yankees take their cuts against Pineda, CC

Yankees take their cuts against Pineda, CC

TAMPA, Fla. -- Rolling out of bed and having to face Michael Pineda in early-morning batting practice probably ranks among the most unpleasant wakeup calls that the Yankees will experience all year.

That was the situation for Colin Curtis and Melky Mesa, who were summoned to a diamond behind George M. Steinbrenner Field on Monday to take swings against the best offerings that Pineda and CC Sabathia could muster.

"He's a monster," Curtis said of Pineda. "He's big up there. I think him and CC might be the two biggest guys you can find. It was good, though, because the sun was back there. They were kind of blocking it."

Yes, the Yankees have two 6-foot-7 solar eclipses on their pitching staff, their towering reach only made more impressive as it hurtles off a 10-inch mound. Catcher Gustavo Molina said that he came away impressed.

"Really good stuff," Molina said. "That's the first time I caught [Pineda]. It looks like he has power in everything he throws. It looked good for me. They know what they're doing. That's why they made the move."

Pineda and Sabathia each threw 25 pitches in the session, and there wasn't much clean contact. While the Yankees know what they have in Sabathia, there was a level of curiosity about Pineda's outing.

"I know I'm the new guy here, but all the players help me all the time," Pineda said. "It's good."

Molina said that Pineda mixed in five or six changeups, a pitch that the 23-year-old has been taking instruction from pitching coach Larry Rothschild to hone.

"He's working on it," Molina said. "It's pretty good, from my standpoint. He's a power pitcher, and any power pitcher needs soft stuff. I think if he can do it, it will help a lot."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that the team will be looking for Pineda to use his changeup in exhibition games, beginning with his March 5 start against the Phillies, and will not worry about any runs that result from it.

"It is important to him, and it is important that he works on it in Spring Training," Girardi said. "He's a guy that we're not going to get real caught up with the numbers. We just want him to develop that pitch."