KISSIMMEE, Fla. — An MRI of Michael Pineda’s sore right shoulder showed no structural damage, just tendinitis, a development Yankees manager Joe Girardi termed “great news.”
Still, the 23-year-old right-hander acquired from Seattle in the trade for Jesus Montero will begin his first Yankee season on the disabled list and his the date of his first start remains undetermined.
“We’ll be conservative with him,” Girardi said. “He’ll get treatment and we’ll see how long it is before he picks a ball.”
Asked if he considered that good news, Girardi said, “It’s great news.”
The Yankees feared the worst Friday night, when Pineda got knocked around by the Philadelphia Phillies, who reached him for six runs in 2-2/3 innings and afterward informed the club that his shoulder was “a little sore.”
Once again, Pineda had been unable to generate the kind of velocity on his fastball that he had shown regularly in Seattle, where he averaged 95 MPH in his rookie season. Friday, his fastball sat between 89-91 MPH, with one reading as high as 94 MPH according to the YES Network radar gun. But a scout who spoke with ESPNNewYork.com’s Andrew Marchand said he clocked Pineda between 88-92 mph.
The concern over Pineda’s velocity caused the Yankees to ask him several times over the past few weeks if his arm felt OK, and according to Girardi and GM Brian Cashman, Pineda always told them it did. But Cashman said Friday night that Pineda’s relatively low gun readings were “a red flag,” a sentiment Girardi repeated before Saturday’s game between the Yankees and Houston Astros.
“There was always that curiosity, you know why isn’t it going up higher, and as you’re looking for answers we’re looking, too, trying to figure out why isn’t the velocity where it was last year,” Girardi said. “Is it the innings, is he just not ready to turn it loose, you know, what is it? None of us are ever really going to know but right now, he’s shut down and we’ll get him back as soon as we can.”
Pineda also had problems with his mechanics and his control Friday night, and after the game he told reporters he was consciously trying to throw his fastball harder. Asked if he thought that might have contributed to Pineda’s injury, Girardi said, “I can’t tell you exactly what it is.”
Pineda’s injury in his first season after pitching 171 innings in his rookie season recalled what happened last season to Phil Hughes, who followed his 18-win, 176-1/3 inning 2010 season with an injury-riddled and fastball-deprived 2011 season. Hughes, too, was diagnosed with shoulder tendinitis and wound up missing three months of the season, finishing at 5-5 with a 5.79 ERA.
“They both got tendinitis, but I wouldn’t necessarily say they’re similar (injuries),” Girardi said. “There’s a lot of parts to that shoulder. It’s unfortunate that (Pineda) isn’t feeling 100 percent but I think we’ll get him back here, I really believe that.”
Yankees P Pineda to DL with shoulder tendinitis
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