Twins Sign Right-Hander Pineda to 2-Year Deal

In this May 5, 2017, file photo, New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda throws against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning of an interleague baseball game, in Chicago. Photo: AP/Nam Y. Huh, File
In this May 5, 2017, file photo, New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda throws against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning of an interleague baseball game, in Chicago.

December 13, 2017 11:46 AM

The Minnesota Twins have signed right-handed pitcher Michael Pineda, the team announced Wednesday.

Pineda and the Twins came to terms on a two-year, $10 million contract. He'll receive $2 million in 2018 and $8 million in 2019.

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The 28-year-old Pineda, from the Dominican Republic, has spent five seasons as a starter in the major leagues between Seattle and New York, posting a 40-41 record and a 4.05 ERA with 157 walks and 687 strikeouts in 680 innings pitched.

Pineda is a big, fairly hard-throwing right-hander whose career began promisingly in Seattle in 2011, when as a rookie he was named to the American League All-Star team. 

But his career has been marked by injury. He sat out the 2012 and 2013 seasons with shoulder problems, returning in 2014 – this time with the New York Yankees – to start 13 games. 

He followed with seasons of 160.2 and 175.2 innings pitched before being placed on the disabled list in July 2017 with a right UCL injury for which he underwent Tommy John surgery. Prior to the injury, he had started 17 games, going 8-4 with a 4.39 ERA with 21 walks and 92 strikeouts in 96.1 innings pitched.

Pineda in 2014 was suspended 10 games for using pine tar. He did not appeal. "I accept it," he said at the time, and then acknowledged he made a mistake.

Pineda adds middle- to top-of the rotation depth to an ascendant starting five that includes right-handers Ervin Santana, Jose Berrios and Kyle Gibson. Left-hander Adalberto Mejia, who enjoyed some success last season despite occasionally being erratic, is expected to compete for a spot in the rotation, as well.  Right-handers Phil Hughes and Trevor May, coming off injuries, will also compete, as could young Fernando Romero. 

The Twins have expressed interest in free agent Yu Darvish, and are reported to have inquired about Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn and Chris Archer, as well.

The team says 37 spots are now filled on its 40-man roster.
 

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Michael Oakes

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