While in town to be examined by team doctors yesterday Michael Pineda made a surprise appearance in the Yankees clubhouse, hanging out with the new teammates he barely got to know before undergoing shoulder surgery in April.
Pineda described himself as “feeling better right now” but was also quick to note that he hasn’t been cleared to start throwing again, telling Brendan Prunty of the Newark Star Ledger that his goal is to do so “in the middle of September.”
That obviously rules out any kind of game action this season, minors or majors, but that was expected when Pineda had his torn labrum repaired and it should give him plenty of time to be ready for next spring. For now he’ll continue rehabbing at the Yankees’ complex in Florida.
Meanwhile, Jesus Montero is hitting .266 with eight homers and a .721 OPS in 62 games for the Mariners, so even with Pineda blowing out his arm almost immediately the trade hasn’t been a disaster for New York yet.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: