Michael Pineda didn’t quite know how to interpret what he was hearing.
When Seattle Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik called the 23-year-old pitcher last month to tell him he had been traded to the New York Yankees, Pineda needed an interpreter employed by the Mariners to translate, just so he grasped everything.
“When the GM called speaking to me in English, I don’t understand,” Pineda said with a laugh Tuesday morning at the Yankees’ minor league complex. “I’m a Dominican guy, and my English isn’t very good.”
Pineda said there was some initial shock to hearing he would be headed to New York, but that quickly was replaced by “excitement,” a word he used liberally in a 10-minute interview with several reporters.
Pineda already has one friend on the team, a friend he made last season.
When the Yankees visited Seattle last May, Pineda was surprised to be visited by Robinson Cano, a fellow native of the Dominican. The two also talked at the All-Star Game.
As for being in New York, Cano offered advice, and assistance.
“Focus on your game, on your work, New York is the best team,” Pineda said. “And he said don’t worry, I’ll take care of you.”
Pineda went 8-6 with a 3.03 ERA in the season’s first half before falling off to 1-4, 5.12 in the second half. He said perhaps wearing down a bit and a decline in the effectiveness of his secondary pitches contributed to the drop-off.
“I’m ready to go,” he said.
Kansas City exercised its option on manager Ned Yost to keep him with the club through the 2013 season. Outfielder Kosuke Fukudome agreed to a one year, $1 million deal with the White Sox. A person familiar with the deal said the Tampa Bay Rays and manager Joe Maddon had agreed on a three-year contract extension. Baltimore is no longer interested in free agent slugger Manny Ramirez, said Dan Duquette, the Orioles vice president of baseball operations. The remaining bidders for the Los Angeles Dodgers have been told they will be scheduled for meetings with MLB’s ownership committee early next month. Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, now coach at San Diego State, is undergoing surgery to remove a new cancerous tumor inside his right cheek.