Michael Pineda will reportedly be put on the disabled list following his return from the 10-game pine tar suspension. The 25-year-old righty suffered a muscle strain in his back during a simulated game last Tuesday. David Phelps will presumably fill in until Pineda is healthy, but the New York Yankees‘ bats will be needed more than ever with the team losing two starting pitchers in the last month.
Outside of Jacoby Ellsbury, the high-priced acquisitions of Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran have a batting average south of .260. Derek Jeter‘s average dipped to .260 after going 0-for-4 against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, and rookie sensation Yangervis Solarte has recently cooled off with his average dropping under .300 after batting just .200 over the last week.
To make matters worse, C.C. Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda have struggled as of late with both starters’ ERAs rising above 5.00. Vidal Nuno has held his own, for the most part, since Ivan Nova was lost to Tommy John surgery, but Masahiro Tanaka currently stands as the lone starter in the rotation who can guarantee production.
Pineda’s injury comes at a horrible time for the Yankees with nearly every area of the team slumping. The spot-starters and bullpen will undoubtedly have to step up in Pineda’s absence—or until Sabathia or Kuroda can find their footing. But more importantly, the team needs to start scoring runs. The Yankees are 12th in runs scored in the league and eighth in the AL.
The Yankees still sit atop the AL East at 16-14 while the rest of the division is dealing with their own issues. However, this would be a great time for the stars in the lineup to heat up while the starting rotation moves through a period of transition.