Monday, June 1, 2015

Pineda excited to return to Seattle, oppose King Felix

Facing an ace like Felix Hernandez is never an easy task for major league clubs, but Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda is looking forward to the challenge.

"I feel very happy and I want to pitch a great game and be happy on the mound," Pineda recently told "It's a great moment for me because Seattle is my original team."

Pineda -- likely the Yankees' most reliable starter right now -- is set to oppose Hernandez when the Yankees visit the Mariners Monday at Safeco Field, where Hernandez is 4-1 with a 2.00 ERA this season.

Pineda spent his rookie year with Seattle in 2011, making the AL All-Star team after striking out 173 over 171 innings. He was traded to the Yankees the following winter in the infamous Jesus Montero deal, and has not played in the Emerald City since.

Pineda says he is excited to see Hernandez perform again, the veteran having mentored him during that first campaign.

"He's the King, you know?" Pineda said. "He's a great pitcher and I love to see him. I had a great time when I was there, seeing Felix Hernandez pitching. He (taught) me a lot."

Hernandez is coming off a complete game shutout Wednesday against the Rays, with whom the Yankees are currently tied for first place in the East. Pineda -- on the other hand -- threw 6 2/3 frames of one-run ball in his last outing versus the Royals, the current holders of a .604 winning percentage.

Indeed, both right-handers have impressed lately -- something Pineda thinks will make for an interesting contest.

"It's going to be a great game," Pineda said. "I want to win it."

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)