Michael Pineda complains of sore shoulder after rough night

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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.

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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.

The Giants might be ready to part ways with Hunter Pence

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Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.

The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.

Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.