Young Pineda makes early impression in camp

Young Pineda makes early impression in camp
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Mariners are trying to keep expectations realistic when it comes to rookie pitcher Michael Pineda, but it's impossible not to be impressed by the sheer size and power of the 6-foot-5, 245-pound youngster from the Dominican Republic in the opening days of Spring Training.

Pineda threw his second bullpen session of the camp on Wednesday and again looked strong, which is something that comes naturally for the towering 22-year-old.

"He jumps out at you because he's such a physical specimen," said pitching coach Carl Willis. "He's a big, strong young man. Aside from that, I've been pleased that he's been very controlled in camp.

"There have been such expectations -- I think more so from media and fans -- so we're trying to temper that. But he's been very much in control. He's throwing strikes. He's definitely come in here ready to go."

After dominating at Double-A West Tenn and throwing some overpowering games at Triple-A Tacoma last year, Pineda is being given a strong shot at making the Mariners rotation this spring.

There's a long way to go there, obviously, but initial impressions certainly aren't hurting his chances.

"He obviously sticks out when you look at his size," manager Eric Wedge said. "But I like his athleticism on the mound. I like the way he presents the ball at home plate. I like the way his arm works and he throws the ball downhill.

"He moves well in PFP [pitchers' fielding practice] and gets after the ball. It's hard to miss the guy. He's a tremendous physical presence and he's performed, too."