Update: Pineda complained of shoulder soreness after his outing tonight and will undergo an MRI on Saturday. It’s still not official, but now it seems pretty certain that he won’t be in the rotation to start the year.
Michael Pineda is already hearing the boo-birds in pinstripes, without even having pitched in a regular-season game for the Yankees.
The struggling right-hander was pulled after allowing six runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Phillies on Friday night, taking his spring ERA to 5.68. With his velocity still down, there’s a good chance he’ll be bumped from the rotation and optioned to Triple-A.
While Pineda’s lost velocity has long been the talk of Yankees camp, he was still pretty effective until tonight, going 1-0 with a 3.31 ERA and a 16/7 K/BB ratio in 16 1/3 innings. If the Yankees didn’t have six starters for five spots, they’d almost surely give him a chance to work through the velocity issues in the regular season. Still, sending him down seems like the obvious choice now. They’ll still have Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia behind CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda in the rotation.
As disappointing as the series of events has been, it’s way too early to rule on the Jesus Montero-for-Pineda trade. Pineda showed some of the best stuff in the AL last year, and while the drop off in his fastball is a big concern, he says he’s healthy. It’s probably time to write him off for April, but he still could be a difference maker for the Bombers this season.