The Yankees opened their season sans Michael Pineda yesterday, as the young right-hander started the year on the disabled list with a bout of shoulder tendinitis. Pineda has played catch in each of the last two days, suggesting that the injury isn’t too serious. Joe Girardi said yesterday that it’s “safe to say” we won’t see him in the big leagues this month though, which jives with the ultra-conservative approach they’re reportedly taking.
Reports indicate that Pineda came to camp 10-20 lbs. overweight, and Brian Cashman openly questioned his offseason routine. “I betcha it’s the first time he picked up a ball and started working out, and he’s probably using — it doesn’t make it right, if it’s the case, but I can’t tell you it’s the case — but he’s probably using Spring Training to get himself in shape,” said the GM a few weeks ago. Turns out there’s a little more to the story than that. Courtesy of Marc Carig…
A wrinkle in the Michael Pineda Saga: Turns out that Pineda was slated to arrive at M’s camp Jan. 22 to work out early, just as he did before his great rookie year. Then Pineda got traded, and there was a 10-day lag before it became official. Ultimately, Pineda didn’t arrive in Tampa until Feb. 14, still early, but not as planned. Impossible to know if extra 3 weeks of work would have made difference. But Pineda knows this much: “Next year, I’m coming early. I’m doing my plan.”
The Yankees agreed to acquire Pineda on Friday the 13th, but the trade didn’t become official until ten days later as Carig said. By then he was already a day behind, and by time he actually got to Tampa, he was already 23 days behind schedule. It’s not a surprise he came down with an achy shoulder after ramping up his throwing with three fewer weeks of workouts than originally planned.
Patience is a big part of how the Yankees’ front office has operated in recent years, and it served them well this offseason. They acquired Pineda (and Jose Campos!) for two young players rather than four, which is what it took for other teams to land guys like Doug Fister, Mat Latos, and Gio Gonzalez. That patience also appears to have hurt the club and specifically Pineda due to the timing of the trade and the right-hander’s offseason schedule. It’s unfortunate more than anything; it’s not like the Yankees are keeping tabs on the offseason routine of every other player around the league. Hopefully this unplanned but extended break gets Pineda back to where he was last season, because that guy was really awesome.