Michael Pineda on his injury and return

The New Bullpen Era
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Yesterday, for the first time in 2012, and the first time as a member of the New York Yankees, Michael Pineda entered Yankee Stadium. His father also visited the Stadium for the first time, and under different circumstances he’d have been excited to see his son don the pinstripes. But we all know that won’t happen for another 11 months at the earliest. Pineda recently underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum, and he has a long road to recovery.

WFAN’s Sweeny Murti took the opportunity to ask Pineda a few questions about his injury and future. The whole thing is worth a quick read, but here are a select few quotes to get you going.

On when he started feeling pain in his shoulder: “I think the first time (I felt something was) my last start in spring training. I tried to throw hard and I felt pain in my shoulder.” He could play catch fine, but said it started to hurt more when he started throwing hard again.

On his reduced velocity this spring: “I didn’t focus on my velocity. I focused a little more on my changeup. I was so excited because I had a great changeup and great slider and my fastball was 90-94…I can throw my 97 in the middle of the season.”

There are other tidbits, such as how he felt after his 2011 season, his outlook for 2012, and his feelings on his former team coming to town this weekend. Again, the whole thing is worth a quick read. Here’s to wishing him a strong rehab and speedy recovery.

The New Bullpen Era
Must-click link: Reggie Jackson in No-Man's Land
  • Robinson Tilapia

    Even if this guy wins 300 games, my forever memory will be of him talking about how much he loves to cook in that intro video.

    Here’s to a speedy recovery, future effectiveness, and turning a now-massive-blunder into future-genius.

    • Bo Knows

      And its wrong to have a hobby why? Or would it have been better if he said that he liked to party?

      • jsbrendog

        where the hell does he say it is wrong? he says it is the most memorable thing about the guy. relax bro. not very boss like.

        • Erica


    • Erica

      WAIT — isn’t there some kind of cookbook out with recipes by baseball players? Is Pineda in it?

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Ha. I was commenting on how endearing I thought it was for sure.

        As for a cookbook, Pineda and Nova making mofongo on the Food Network would be must-see TV.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Also, interesting that when he experienced “pain” now shifts to that last start of Spring Training. I always thought we were a bit too caught up in semantics with “pain” versus “soreness.” Discounting the conspiracy theorists who’ll think the Mariners sold us damaged goods no matter what is presented to them, does this shift anyone’s thoughts as to when the bulk of the damage occured?

    Will not be around to reply further to this. Speak below.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      I don’t worry too much about the pain vs. soreness stuff because we’re talking about a guy who’s speaking in his second language.

      • MannyGeee

        right, the thing to focus on here is “Spring Training” versus “Last September”…

  • keithr

    In light of these comments, it sure seems stupid that Girardi and co. made his last spring start out to be some sort of test he needed to pass to make the rotation.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      I don’t think it was Girardi & Co. as much as it was the media constantly asking Pineda about.

      • Fin

        Thats not my recolection. I remember Girardi saying that start was very important and Cashman being there to see it. I will go to my grave thinking the Yankees and specifically Cashman put too much pressure on him and forced him to overthrow that game, to keep his spot in the rotation.

        • Bryan__fromNZ

          Fin, I agree with you.

          Really stupid that firstly Cashman and Girardi created such pressure on Pineda who was already displaying reduced velocity, a red-flag for multiple reasons. And secondly for going to the media about it.

          Of course this was compounded by rushing Pineda back to pitching instead of rehabbing the damn shoulder.

  • Yank The Frank

    What’s done is done. If he didn’t blow out his arm at the end of ST it would have went in his first few starts. He is still very young. Fix him up and he’ll be ready to go next year. This iwll still end up a good deal.

    • The Guns of Navarone

      Wait, what?? I really feel like if the New York media didn’t feel an overwhelming need to make themselves seem as important as possible, and Pineda was allowed to throw and progress as a normal pitcher, he would’ve probably been rounding into shape about now. But neither of us can tell the future…

  • Kruk That Noise

    The next time one of the hacks writes about lack of velocity in ST he should be promptly kicked in the balls.

    Why even bother posting mph in February or March???

    Arrrgh, Hulk smash!!!

    • RkyMtnYank

      The problem was pretty much everyone in the media was all over him about the lack of velocity. In the old days when spring training wasn’t the start of the season this probably would not have been a problem. Girardi saying he didn’t have a rotation spot probably caused him to over throw as well.

    • Voice of Reason

      Bad narrative alert.

      What does it say when in order to reach his average velocity range from the previous year with even one pitch a guy has to throw so hard he blows out his labrum (while still not reaching that velocity)? Probably that his labrum was fucked anyway. No wait, it’s definitely that.

      • Need Pitching

        “No wait, it’s definitely that.”

        or his mechanics were off
        or his lack of conditioning caused reduced arm strength or reduced drive with his legs

      • The Guns of Navarone

        I don’t think it says much in March.

      • GardnergoesYardner

        It wasn’t that at all. He might have been trying to harder, but you dont fuck up your labrum by just trying to throw hard. He probably had screwed up mechanics or somethin

      • Voice of Reason

        The point is that he didn’t mess up his labrum by trying to light up the radar gun. That’s an incredible silly assumption to make.

        He showed up with severely reduced velocity that really didn’t budge much, goes on the DL with a weak shoulder, and a few weeks later he needs surgery for a torn labrum. It’s far more plausible that his drastic loss of velocity was a symptom of shoulder problems (something that makes perfect sense) than that he hurt his shoulder by trying to regain the 4 mph he lost overnight despite not being injured (something that would be wild speculation, in addition to not making sense).

        • Havok9120

          This ignores that almost every pitcher in the league, especially fireballers, comes in drastically underthrowing.

          I’m not saying I disagree with that as a high possibility, just that it isn’t the only one. Any one (or combination of) bad mechanics, hurt shoulder, poor conditioning, and Spring Rust could have been the culprit.

  • Matt

    It’s crazy how much no one is talking about his injury as much since Mo went down…who fans showed TREMENDOUS amounts of respect for and talk about him like he is a legend, which he is ( http://youtu.be/LTj4fXizfHM ) Seem like MP has taken a seat on the back burner

    • Havok9120

      Well….um…yeah. He’s a new Yankee about which everything has been said that possibly can be. He’s been one of the top 3 Yankee stories since the day he was traded. He was the total center of attention all spring. Now he’s had surgery and there will be nothing new to report for weeks and, probably, months.


    • Erica

      I see what you’re saying, but what more can we all discuss about Pineda’s injury?

      • the Other Steve S.

        Molecular regrowth. How many cells have regenerated!!!

        • Erica

          *pops a bag of Orville Redenbacher* Tell me more!

  • Manny’s BanWagon

    Hopefully he’ll dedicate himself to his rehab program and come back strong next year.

    He seems like a good kid and he’s never really made any big money in baseball yet so the motivation should be there.

  • J $

    I have no doubt he will be back next year – the question is will he be the same pitcher? Some articles I have read suggested there is no way he will have the same velocity. Pineda at 90-92 excites me a hell of a lot less than Pineda at 95-97.

    • SMK

      I think Pineda could still be effective w/diminished velo (not that it’s a given he still won’t have mid-90’s heat.)

      His effective off-speed stuff coupled w/the fact that he’s so damn close to home plate when he releases the ball will still give his FB swing-and-miss potential.

  • parmesan

    Pretty depressing. You have the guy essesntially saying: “I know I wasn’t throwing as hard as before because everyone kept asking me about it. So, in my last start of ST, I tried to throw really hard to show them I still could. Then I felt pain in my shoulder.” I dunno, but it seems to me like straining for an extra few mph’s probably didn’t help matters any at the very least. It’s impossible to say if that caused the injury or if it would have occured anyway, but it’s frustrating to see that connection.

    • Ted Nelson

      Not sure that he really made that connection so explicitly.

  • le david

    Why is this getting a recommendation as a light read? And why do teams let there players get grilled in questions. I find it off.

    Is it me or is this interview sort of sounds like set up. The questions are very leading.

    Q: When you look back now, do you know about when you hurt yourself?

    A: No, I don’t know. I think the first time (I felt something was) my last start in spring training.

    Q: All the starts before that last one, we asked you a lot about your velocity. It wasn’t quite what it was last year and you just kept saying, “No, I’m fine.” Do you still think now that you were fine all spring?

    Q: The way you finished last season, are you comfortable that your arm was fine at the end of last season?

    A: Sure, yeah. I never felt anything in my shoulder. Never.

    Q: So the first time you felt anything was really wrong was that last start of spring training?

    After he said he first hurt himself in spring trainings he repeatedly tries to get him to admit to being hurt at another time. Mikes frame of reference also makes it more likely he feels as if he is being badgered. This isn’t his first language, I think i would feel as if I was being asked the same question.

    As someone who regardly performs interviews and tries to pay attention to this kind of stuff. The subject has to be feeling as if he is on a witness stand and someone is digging into him. Am I wrong?

    • vin

      I was thinking the same thing when I read it. It seemed like Sweeny was looking for a scoop, rather than the “puff piece” it really ought to have been. I say that, not because all interviews are supposed to be super easy on players, but because there just wasn’t much there, other than when he first felt soreness.

    • Ted Nelson

      It’s the question that’s really on everyone’s mind, so I see why it’s the question being asked repeatedly.

  • Ro

    In my insane logic, this injury might have been a good thing. I still contend that the Mariners bear some of the responsibility for his injury. Not directly, or not that they knowingly sold him as an injured player, because they didn’t and you just can’t and won’t do that in professional sports, but I think the Mariners training program isn’t as great as other teams and more importantly, Pineda technically had little knowledge he would be traded. It wasn’t something discussed mid-season last year, never. Point is, he came into Yankee camp out of shape and that is on the Mariners. They didn’t act like a good parent when the season ended. I fault the Mariners for negligence, which unfortunately, isn’t a crime in this situation.

    Concerning the injury, part of me worried that he would blow his arm out had he made the rotation at the start of the season. Again, part Mariners, but I feel like they used him a little too much last season. Truth is, the type of injury Pineda sustained is perhaps the best possible thing, in the world of pitching injuries. What this allows now is for the Yankees to restart him from the ground up, within their organization.

    The fact of the matter is on a talent basis dollar for dollar, the trade still makes 110% sense and frankly, I still think the Yanks got the better end of it. I expect Pineda to be a very good pitcher for the next few seasons.

  • MikedJones

    Let’s just hope the guy that showed up to camp out of shape will be willing to do the rehab work needed to come back strong.

  • Erica

    This interview makes me so sad.

    Pineda seems to have a great attitude about his situation, though. After all — what can you really do in his position, except work hard to get back to where you were?

    Q: Is it going to be hard to watch for the rest of the year?

    A: It’s really hard. It’s… it’s okay. I’m a young guy, so I can keep working really hard and come back strong. That’s what I need. That’s it.

    Q: Yankee fans were really looking forward to seeing you pitch here. Is there anything you’d like to say to them?

    A: I want to say I’m real sad for the Yankee fans that want to see me. But don’t worry, I’m going to stay here. And I’ll come back real strong. I’ll keep working really hard for my rehab and I’ll be the same Michael Pineda from 2011.

  • Reggie C.

    I won’t read it. Trying to move on here ….

    Discussing the Implications of the injury to the composition of future Yankee rotations is one thing, but actually reading about the injury itself still angers me.