Mini-Rundown: Michael Pineda, shut down but not forgotten

Andy Behrens

Known as the George Donner of fantasy primers, the Mini-Rundown is like a smaller, less-useful version of the Weekly Rundown. Sound awesome? Well then keep reading. Please note that matchups are subject to change due to injuries, weather and managerial whim.

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For a brief moment back in July, following baseball's annual Cliff Lee(notes) mega-trade, we thought Seattle might call up 21-year-old pitching prospect Michael Pineda to join the rotation. At the time, the 6-foot-5 right-hander was coming off a dominant 10-strikeout performance for Tacoma, his Triple-A ERA was 2.37, and he was actually scheduled to pitch on the day the Lee deal went down.

But the promotion never happened, and now it sounds like Pineda will be shelved for the remainder of the season — no doubt a wise move by the Mariners. There's a service time issue to consider and there's also the matter of his year-to-date workload. He's thrown 139.1 innings across two levels this season, after elbow trouble limited him to 47.1 IP in 2009.

Here's general manager Jack Zduriencik's spin on the Pineda shutdown, via MLB.com:

"The simple reason is because of innings," said Zduriencik, who added that the Mariners had a plan from the beginning of the year to limit Pineda to between 140 and 150 innings this year. "Our decision is that we think this is a prized product of ours and a guy we want to protect."

[…]

"We obviously think a lot of him," Zduriencik said. "We think this guy has a chance to be a quality starter at the Major League level, and we think it's going to happen soon.

"So again, there's no issues here — nothing physically wrong with him at all. It's just strictly an innings issue, and again, we figure the best thing to do for our best future and his best future is to stop it right now."

Pineda has struggled in his last two starts (16 hits in 8.0 IP), so it appears his employer is pulling the plug at the right time. Zduriencik indicated that Pineda would have a legitimate chance to break camp with Seattle in 2011, but GMs often say such things. Pineda is nonetheless a prospect who belongs on the fantasy radar. He finishes with a 3.36 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP, and 154 Ks in 139.1 innings. If you think we're hyping him now, just wait 'til next spring.

And with that, we present the two-start pitchers for the week ahead. Deploy them as needed…

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National League Two-Start Pitchers
Roy Halladay(notes) (at LAD, vs. MIL)
Jair Jurrjens(notes) (vs. NYM, at FLA)
Jonathan Sanchez(notes) (vs. COL, at LAD)
Mike Minor(notes) (vs. NYM, at FLA)
Jorge De La Rosa(notes) (at SF, at SD)
Jonathon Niese(notes) (at ATL, at CHC)
Hiroki Kuroda(notes) (vs. PHI, vs. SF)
Homer Bailey(notes) (vs. MIL, at STL)
Carlos Zambrano(notes) (vs. PIT, vs. NYM)
JA Happ(notes) (vs. STL, at ARI)
Jake Westbrook(notes) (at HOU, vs. CIN)
Wade LeBlanc(notes) (at ARI, vs. COL)
Joe Saunders(notes) (vs. SD, vs. HOU)
Randy Wolf(notes) (at CIN, at PHI)
Alex Sanabia(notes) (vs. WAS, vs. ATL)
Kyle Kendrick(notes) (at LAD, vs. MIL)
Paul Maholm(notes) (at CHC, vs. WAS)
Pat Misch(notes) (at ATL, at CHC)
Jason Marquis(notes) (at FLA, at PIT)
Esmil Rogers(notes) (at SF, at SD)

American League Two-Start Pitchers
Felix Hernandez(notes) (vs. LAA, vs. CLE)
Phil Hughes(notes) (vs. OAK, vs. TOR)
CJ Wilson(notes) (at KC, at MIN)
Ervin Santana(notes) (at SEA, at OAK)
Brett Cecil(notes) (at TB, at NYY)
Wade Davis(notes) (vs. TOR, at BAL)
Josh Beckett(notes) (at BAL, vs. CHW)
Trevor Cahill(notes) (at NYY, vs. LAA)
Justin Masterson(notes) (vs. CHW, at SEA)
Mark Buehrle(notes) (at CLE, at BOS)
Brian Duensing(notes) (vs. DET, vs. TEX)
Brian Matusz(notes) (vs. BOS, vs. TB)
Armando Galarraga(notes) (at MIN, at KC)
Mitch Talbot(notes) (vs. CHW, at SEA)
Vin Mazzaro(notes) (at NYY, vs. LAA)
Dustin Moseley(notes) (vs. OAK, vs. TOR)
David Pauley(notes) (vs. LAA, vs. CLE)
Kyle Davies(notes) (vs. TEX, vs. DET)

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