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Mariners Traded Starting Pitcher Michael Pineda

Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik likes to say that the best trades are the ones that make both teams better. By that standard, this ain't one of 'em . . . so far. Seattle's next big bat arrived in January, when the Mariners sent starting pitcher Michael Pineda, an All-Star as a rookie in 2011, to New York for Jesus Montero, the Yankees' top power-hitting prospect. Losing the 23-year-old Pineda, who threw effortlessly in the mid-to-high-90s, struck out more than a batter an inning, and seemed poised on the edge of stardom, was stunning. But the real shocker came in spring training, when the 6-foot-7 right-hander was diagnosed with tendinitis in his right shoulder, then tore the labrum in that shoulder during rehab and underwent season-ending surgery. His career is on hold, his future uncertain. Meanwhile, Montero has tentatively established himself in the middle of Seattle's lineup, splitting time between catcher and designated hitter and flashing the raw power to leave any part of Safeco Field. It probably won't happen this year, but if the 22-year-old Venezuelan stays healthy, he'll break the season record for home runs by a Seattle catcher (it's only 19), and eventually become the first Mariner to hit 35 homers in a season since Richie Sexson belted 39 in 2005. Be sure to thank the next Yankee fan you see. MICHAEL MAHONEY

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