First Pitch: Pettitte, Pineda, Cone & Velo

March, 20, 2012
3/20/12
7:00
AM ET
On the day the new oldest member of the Yankees staff, Andy Pettitte, shows up for work, the youngest member, Michael Pineda, of the Super 7 goes to the mound still looking to answer the question:

Where's the fastball?

We have said it all along that the 90-92 mph readings might not mean anything, even if both Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi have stated, at one time or another, that Pineda is not guaranteed a spot in the rotation. So if he is overwhelmed by New York and he forgot to pack his top fastball, he could be an Empire State Yankee to start the season. It wouldn't be the worst thing.

Still, with that said, YES' David Cone thinks that Pineda can be successful even if his fastball isn't at 95-plus.

“He really pitched at about 94 [last year],” Cone said during our conversation on Monday. “It is not that far off from 90-91.”

Cone said that at 23, after pitching in the majors for the first time, it is not that unusual for a starter's arm to be overwhelmed by the grind of the season.

“It is very difficult for young pitchers to sustain themselves over a long major league season,” Cone said.

Cone thinks Pineda will be fine because of his "high aptitude" for pitching. So Pineda's velocity will be a story once again, but we have already seen the nasty slider and the developing change so maybe he could be pretty good without his best heat.

UP NOW: My column on how Cone in 2003 was Pettitte in 2012. Here is the podcast of my conversation with Cone. Michael Kay and Don LaGreca talked with Pettitte during Monday's show.

ON DECK: March Madness! Kieran Darcy makes his 2012 spring training debut. Darcy will be in the clubhouse, beginning at 2:10 p.m. when the doors open. Pettitte is scheduled to talk with reporters at 6 p.m. At 7 p.m., Pineda takes the mound against the Pirates. The game will be on YES. We will be on the blog all day and night. Thanks for reading.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: We did an O/U with Pettitte on Monday, here is another question: Who has more wins this season -- Pineda or Pettitte?
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
13 2.77 141 136
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146