The battle for the New York Yankees final rotation spot is now over, at least for now. Michael Pineda, the pitcher acquired from the Seattle Mariners for Jesus Montero, is headed to the 15-Day DL after experiencing some shoulder soreness following last night’s start against the Philadelphia Phillies. After undergoing an MRI this morning, Pineda was diagnosed with shoulder tendinitis in his right shoulder.
After announcing that Pineda will be headed to the disabled list, manager Joe Girardi announced his starting rotation to begin the season. C.C. Sabathia will be followed by Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, and then finally, Freddy Garcia. Throughout Spring Training Michael Pineda has had a microscope on him. First, he arrived to camp a little overweight. Then, his fastball velocity was noticeably down, sitting around 91-93 instead of the 94-97 that he was throwing last year. There had been speculation that the Yankees might send Pineda down to AAA to work on his command and velocity which is now moot since Pineda will spend at least fifteen days on the disabled list and then try to rehab his shoulder and see how it feels.
The Yankees also lost left-handed reliever and Rule 5 draftee Cesar Cabral to what appears to be a stress fracture in the tip of his left elbow. There is now treatment plan in place right now but it is likely he will miss a significant chunk of the season. Cabral was pitching well enough in Spring Training for the Yankees to consider him as the second lefty out of the bullpen. Since Cabral was a Rule 5 draftee, if he misses the entire season then the Rule 5 rules will carry over to 2013. This means if he doesn’t make the New York Yankees 25-man roster he must be offered back to the Boston Red Sox. Obviously, this injury will delay any decision the Yankees must make on Cabral.
Right now it looks as if Clay Rapada will break camp as the Yankees second lefty in the bullpen. Rapada has been hell on lefties this Spring, holding them to a .000 AVG with 9 strikeouts and only 2 walks. Righties haven’t fared much better than lefties against Rapada either, only accumulating 3 hits and 2 walks.
Losing Cabral and Pineda also increases the likelihood that one of the young starters slated for AAA will now become the long reliever that Freddy Garcia seemed destined to become. David Phelps, D.J. Mitchell, and Adam Warren are the leading candidates for that spot.
Earlier this week there were discussions surrounding the Yankees about what they would do with their surplus pitching, a surplus made even greater when Andy Pettitte announced he would be making a comeback from retirement. Now, in one day, after one game, the Yankees pitching depth is already being tested. The old baseball axiom about not having enough pitching will always be true.