Bad news for the Bombers.
Michael Pineda threw as scheduled today in extended spring training, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that he was shut down after feeling lingering weakness in his right shoulder.
The hope was that Pineda would begin an official minor league rehab assignment if things went well today, but any such plans have been put on hold. The 23-year-old right-hander underwent an MRI at the end of March which showed only tendinitis and no structural damage, but he’ll now be sent back to a doctor to see if anything is more seriously wrong.
It’s way too soon to call the Montero-for-Pineda deal a bust for the Yankees — we’ll need years to make a proper judgment on this one — but it’s a good thing they added Andy Pettitte as an insurance policy for their starting rotation. It sure doesn’t sound like Pineda will be a factor anytime soon.
UPDATE: Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News that Pineda will return to New York on Monday to be examined by team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad. He’s expected to undergo a dye-contrast MRI to see if they missed anything in the initial exam last month.
The Mariners signed free agent left-hander Wade LeBlanc to a one-year deal, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported Saturday. LeBlanc previously signed a minor league agreement with the Yankees, but later requested his release following the team’s Grapefruit League outing on Friday. The Mariners have yet to confirm the deal or disclose its terms.
This is LeBlanc’s second stint with the Mariners in two years. He was initially acquired by Seattle in the summer of 2016 after the Blue Jays traded him for cash considerations, and produced a 4.50 ERA, 1.6 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 in 50 innings before getting designated for assignment in August. The 33-year-old southpaw was last seen in the majors with the Pirates, with whom he generated another 4.50 ERA, 2,3 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 68 innings in 2017. He entered free agency after the club declined his $1.25 million option for 2018.
The signing comes at a fortuitous moment for the Mariners, who were pressed to find additional bullpen depth after right-handed reliever David Phelps tore his ulnar collateral ligament last week. As with most injuries of that kind, Phelps is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire 2018 season. LeBlanc made a full transition to the bullpen in 2017 and boasts the kind of reverse platoon splits (.216/.270/.389 vs. righties and .292/.333/.500 vs. lefties in 2017) that will make him an effective replacement for the right-handed Phelps.