March 20, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda (35) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees News & Notes: Juan Rivera signs, Pineda begins throwing off mound

We are within a few weeks of pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training. As such, the Yankees are filling out their Spring Training invite list and got some good news regarding one of their young pitchers. The club signed OF/1B/DH Juan Rivera, who started his career with the team back in 1996. Meanwhile, Michael Pineda makes another step toward pitching in the Bronx.

Rivera does have some power, let’s see what he can in ST (Image: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports)

According to Andrew Marchant of ESPN, Rivera signed a minor league deal with the club, which includes an invitation to Spring Training. He’ll be thrown into the right-handed DH mix along with Matt Diaz and Russ Canzler, both of whom were acquired earlier this offseason. The 34-year-old is a career .274/.323/.443 (102 wRC+) hitter, and hits lefties pretty well (.286/.333/.489 and 115 wRC+), so he definitely has a place among the mix of DH candidates. He’s atrocious with the glove, especially in the outfield, but he could be serviceable at first base when Mark Teixeira needs a day to rest.

In other Yankee-related news, Michael Pineda will throw of a half mound today on his way back from last year’s shoulder surgery, according to Dan Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal.

This is good news concerning the young pitcher. He’s been throwing off flat ground since September, so a move toward the real mound — even as little as it may seem — is big progress. Yankees GM Brian Cashman has repeatedly said that the Yankees will not rely on any production coming from Pineda in 2013. That means, there’s no pressure. However, being New York there’s always the added pressure coming from the big lights, big city.

Stats courtesy of Fangraphs

Tags: Juan Rivera Michael Pineda New York Yankees

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