- Wallace Matthews, ESPN Staff Writer
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By his own estimate, Michael Pineda has to drop 10 pounds between now and Opening Day.
The topic of physical size dominated the 6-7 Pineda's conversation with the Yankee beat writers this morning in Tampa, and Pineda -- a pleasant, friendly sort of fellow who seems happy to chat -- volunteered he was 10 pounds over his normal playing weight of 270.
"I need to lose some weight,'' he said. "But that's why it's spring training.''
Pineda, acquired in a trade for Jesus Montero in January, threw 30-35 pitches in the bullpen under the supervision of pitching coach Larry Rothschild, and since today was apparently Changeup Day -- Ivan Nova worked on his as well -- special emphasis was put on Pineda's off-speed pitches. "We worked on my grip a little,'' said Pineda, who throws a circle change along with his fastball and slider. "Larry showed me some things today. He didn't change my mechanics, just moved the ball down in my hand a little. It worked out pretty good.''
Pineda, who lives not far from Nova in San Cristobal, D.R., had never been to New York City before the Mariners came to Yankee Stadium last July. He did not pitch in the series -- he faced the Yankees just once last year, throwing five innings in a no-decision last May -- but spent a little time walking around the city, which he found somewhat overwhelming.
"When I was a little guy I always used to say, I want to go to New York I want to go to New York,'' he said. "But when I got there my first time, I was like, 'Oh, my God, unbelievable.' There were so many people I was a little scared.''
But not too scared to take note of some of the city's charms. ''I'm single, you know?,'' he said, laughing.
Pineda said he has an aunt who lives in the Bronx that he hasn't seen in seven years. No doubt she'll be seeing plenty of him over the next couple of months.
Minus 10 pounds, of course.