DETROIT - When Michael Pineda came off the disabled list Aug. 13, veteran Carlos Beltran made a point to pull the young righthander aside for a quick talk.
"He said that we all make mistakes, but you have to move on," Pineda said Tuesday afternoon. "You have to put that in the past and just move on."
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Pineda has certainly done that.
The 25-year-old's most recent gem came in Monday's 8-1 victory over the Royals when he allowed one run and five hits in 6 1/3 innings, improving to 3-2 with a 1.95 ERA this season. He's allowed four earned runs in three starts since returning to the club.
Pineda, of course, made headlines in April for his performance on the field but not always for positive reasons. Twice he was caught with pine tar on his person, the second offense April 23 so obvious that Red Sox manager John Farrell, who ignored the first transgression April 10, felt he had to ask umpires to check the pitcher, who was ejected.
MLB suspended Pineda 10 games and he headed to the DL soon after with a muscle injury in his surgically repaired right shoulder. Pineda's fast start, in which the pitcher resembled the 2011 version of himself who got an All-Star bid, was overshadowed by pine tar.
Beltran didn't want that to be the case when Pineda returned, the reason for the pep talk.
"I see a lot of talent in him,' said Beltran, whom Pineda described as being "extremely supportive" in the days immediately following the suspension. "I [told him] to just take advantage of this opportunity to be back . . . You have to move on and turn the page."
Beltran continued: "He's a young guy, he's quiet but I know how much he cares. Watching him work, he really works hard, he wants to do good. Sometimes you want to hear from a guy that's been in the league for a long time. Sometimes it helps."
Pineda said it did.
"He gave me a lot of advice that I really respect," he said. "It [meant a lot], especially coming from a guy like that who is such a veteran."
Joe Girardi said it is "extremely valuable" when a veteran player takes that kind of initiative.
The manager said he can talk to a player all he wants but the message sounds different coming from a fellow player, particularly one who has been around.
"It means a lot when it comes from your peers," he said. "And for Carlos to do that I think speaks volumes about Carlos and what his focus is."
Beltran, 37, said he has tried to do that as he's gotten older, but he picks his spots.
"I always try to help the guys around me, always say something I feel," he said. "I don't say things because I want to make you feel happy, I say things because I see talent and I see something in you and I believe that I need to say it. At the end of the day, it depends on the particular person to get the message and apply it to himself."
And what does Beltran see in Pineda?
"I see a guy that if he's healthy, he can win 20 games in the big leagues," Beltran said. "He has great stuff. He has movement . . . he has everything, man. He did it in Seattle. He's gone through a few injuries in New York, but when I've seen him, he just makes the rotation so much better when he's in it."