If there has been a common theme that has carried over from last season, it’s that the Yankees can’t defend themselves from the injury bug, one that has already put David Robertson, Mark Teixeira, Francisco Cervelli, Brendan Ryan and Ivan Nova.
And on the day that the Yankees released a statement saying that Nova had undergone a successful Tommy John surgery as expected, the Bombers were dealt another tough blow to their starting rotation this early in the season.
While many of you were sleeping, the Yankees announced that starter Michael Pineda, who is currently serving a 10-game suspension for using pine tar, will be shut down for the next 10 days, and miss at least 3-4 weeks because of a Grade 1 strain in a muscle in his back.
Pineda felt his lat tighten up during the 1st inning of a simulated game he was throwing in Tampa on Monday. He left immediately and was diagnosed with a tight lat, before an MRI revealed it to be worse than first thought. The Yankees announced the Grade 1 strain after Monday night’s loss to the Seattle Mariners, and again minutes later, said that he would be missing almost a month.
The Yankees haven't put him on the DL yet, but I'm assuming they can't until his suspension ends on Monday. Vidal Nuno is already in the rotation as the replacement to Nova, who is done for the year, and now David Phelps, who starts tonight against the Mariners, will likely get the bulk of the starts, if not all, until Pineda returns from this injury.
On the bright side, however, is the fact that missing a few weeks with a injury that doesn't turn out to be very serious could help Pineda with his innings limit, thus keeping him in a better pitching shape down the stretch when the Yankees will need him most as they try to get back the playoffs.
You would als have to think that the Yankees are going to work him back slowly to make sure that he doesn't do any damage to his shoulder while building his strength back up. So we probably won't see Pineda again until June. Sigh.