Pineda Named Starting Pitcher for the New York Yankees

Michael Pineda will definitely be playing ball this season…

After not throwing a pitch in Major League Baseball the last two seasons, the 25-year-old Dominican professional baseball pitcher has won the New York Yankees‘ fifth starter job.

Michael Pineda

The team’s manager Joe Girardi made it official on Tuesday, saying Pineda has pitched well enough this spring to be named to the starting rotation, completing a two-year journey back from serious shoulder surgery and salvaging a trade that for a time looked as if it would be a disaster for the Yankees.

“He threw extremely well,” Girardi said. “It was what we wanted to see from him. He improved each outing. At times he was dominant. We liked what we saw.”

In four appearances (three starts) this spring, Pineda went 2-1 with a 1.20 ERA. He didn’t allow an earned run until this past Sunday after throwing 13 scoreless innings, and struck out 16 batters in 15 innings, walking just one.

“I’m so excited,” Pineda said. “I’ve been working so hard for the last two years to be in New York, to help my team, and today they make me happy. Today is a big day for me. I’m putting everything in the past. I want to continue my career and I want to be here for a long time.”

Despite the loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday, Pineda’s performance convinced the Yankees to add him as the fifth starter in their rotation, behind CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Masahiro Tanaka and Ivan Nova.

Pineda will make his first regular-season start on Saturday, April 5 against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

Rodriguez & Rivera Go to Bat for “Bully”

The Major League Baseball season may have just gotten underway last week… But that hasn’t stopped New York Yankees stars Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera from showing their support for the documentary Bully.

Alex Rodriguez & Mariano Rivera

Rodriguez and Rivera joined fellow players Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson, as well as the team’s manager Joe Girardi, for a special public service announcement to urge the audience to sign on to a website for the film and its Bully Project petition.

Directed by filmmaker Lee Hirsch, Bully follows several middle school students from around the country during one school year and documents bullying and the middle school environment. In one scene, shot in Sioux City, Iowa, middle school student Alex Libby is taunted by classmates on the school bus; another shows an LGBT teen in Oklahoma who faces bullying over her decision to come out. The film also follows the family of Georgia teen Tyler Long in the year following his suicide after he was bullied in middle school.

The film provoked controversy when the MPAA originally gave the movie an R rating, citing the language used in the film. That decision was later overturned after a national letter-writing campaign.

Rodriguez, Rivera and their Yankees teammates join a growing list of celebrities who have spoken out against bullying, including Victoria Justice and Wilmer Valderrama.

Bully opens in theaters around the country on Friday.