According to a report from Puerto Rico, the Cubs were one of a handful of teams to recently watch RHP Joel Pineiro pitch for Leones de Ponce at the Roberto Clemente Stadium in his third start of the winter.
Joel Pineiro underwent surgery on his right shoulder in June of 2012 and has not pitched in the majors since 2011. The report points to Pineiro possibly signing a minor league contract with a Major League team that includes a non-roster invite to Major League Spring Training if he is able to show he is healthy this winter.
The Cubs’ front office sent Carmelo Martinez to watch Pineiro pitch and he indicated the Cubs could be interested in Pineiro as a starter but signing with the Cubs would depend on the other offers Pineiro receives this winter.
Joel Pineiro is 1-0 in three games this winter with a 2.57 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP (four runs on 10 hits with three walks and nine strikeouts in 14 innings). According to the report, Pineiro was throwing in the 84-86 mph range in his last outing after reaching 88 mph with his fastball in his previous start.
The 35-year old veteran right hander went 7-7 in 27 appearances, 24 starts for the Angels in 2011 with a 5.13 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP. Pineiro pitched in five games in the Orioles system in 2012 before undergoing shoulder surgery.
Dave Duncan turned around Pineiro’s career over the two-plus seasons he spent in St. Louis. Pineiro went 28-23 with 69 games, 68 starts, for the Cardinals in 2007-2009 with a 4.14 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP.
Theo Epstein signed Pineiro as a free agent in January of 2007 then flipped him to St. Louis at the deadline for minor league outfielder Sean Danielson and cash. Pineiro went 1-1 in 31 relief appearances for the eventual World Series Champs with a 5.03 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP.
The Royals and Tigers were also on hand to watch Pineiro pitch.
Joel Pineiro told the Puerto Rican newspaper that he feels good and “the most important thing is that the arm is healthy.”
As the report indicates, any team that signs Joel Pineiro would likely add him to their organization on a minor league contract with an invite to big league camp.