Michael Pineda is scheduled to begin his official 30-day rehab assignment beginning this Saturday according to the New York Yankees. Pineda, 24, will rehab with the Single-A Tampa Yankees and the Yankees will have 30 days to decide whether they will call Pineda up or option him to Triple-A.
It is worth noting that if the Yankees option Pineda to Triple-A for two weeks the Yankees will essentially delay Pineda’s free agency for a year which would, in effect, offset the year he lost to injury.
So far, Pineda has been doing very well down in extended spring training. His shoulder has responded well and he was hitting 93-94 MPH on the radar gun in a 65-pitch outing yesterday. He did have a slight bump in the road last week when he was shut down for a cracked fingernail but that is minor and is already in the rearview mirror.
The Yankees currently have a decent amount of depth in their rotation so they will not need to rush Pineda back. However, if Yankees fans have learned anything this season it is that health is never a guarantee this year. The Yankees are lucky in that they have Vidal Nuno and Ivan Nova stashed at Triple-A just in case so the Yankees might not have to rush Pineda back and can option Pineda to Triple-A. It would take a real disaster for the Yankees to deviate from the plan but stranger things have happened this season.
The good news is the Yankees are finally starting to get good news after an off-season, spring training and beginning of the season filled with bad news. Anything Pineda can contribute this season will be a bonus. It is next season where Pineda will be counted on with the potential departure of Phil Hughes and the possibility that Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte will call it quits. The Yankees could be looking at trying to fill three spots in the rotation.
Right now, the tentative plan is for Pineda to make six or so starts down in Tampa and will get optioned to Triple-A where he will throw another three starts before getting called up, if he is pitching well. Aside from getting Mark Teixeira back this is the first batch of good news the Yankees have had in a while but it probably won’t be the last.