Seattle's 'next big thing' needs work 

March, 8, 2011

Some notes from Monday's Seattle-Oakland tilt in Phoenix:

• Seattle right-hander Michael Pineda showed a big fastball Monday, touching 96 miles per hour a few times and working mostly at 93-95 in his two innings. The pitch probably will play up because the ball appears quite late to hitters even though it's not a classic delivery. Pineda struggled with command and especially with his breaking ball on Monday and threw just one changeup, a pin-straight offering at 88 that would grade out at a 35 if we wanted to go off that one sample. The slider was just very inconsistent; Pineda threw several with good tilt but didn't locate them and got away with a few spinners, including one brutal hanger at 81 that a big league hitter could have jerked out of most parks. He has a few more weeks to make his case to be in the Opening Day rotation, but the two innings he threw on Monday did not show him to be ready for the majors; he'll need more consistency on the slider and to show a much better third pitch.