Updates and thoughts on Pineda’s injury

Photo courtesy of the NY Daily News

Twitter and the interwebs seemed to explode last night after Michael Pineda’s poor start and subsequent admission of “soreness” in the back of his shoulder. This all but ends the Spring Training battle for the 5th starter’s spot in the rotation, due both to his abysmal performance last night (with Brian Cashman and Billy Eppler in attendance) and the post game ‘injury diagnosis’.  With that in mind, I want to use this post to get you guys and gals up to date on the latest info, and weigh in with some of my own thoughts and reactions to what transpired last night both on the field and in the clubhouse. First up is a tweet the Yankee beat reporter from the New York Daily News:

Mark Feinsand

Girardi, on Pineda saying he tried to throw harder tonight: “That’s the danger of people always talking about it, that you get concerned, and that could’ve been why his mechanics were a little bit out of whack”

This was obvious to many of us watching the game, not the least of which was David Cone who was broadcasting on YES. He was flying open all night, which makes the FB cut in ways you don’t want and explains his lack of control. It’s something we saw for the past three years from AJ Burnett when he had men on base and tried to pitch from the stretch. We also found out here why Pineda looked as bad as he did. Knowing that he was pitching for his spot in the rotation, he made the rookie mistake of trying too hard, which doesn’t work in a precision/skill game like baseball. Next we have this nugget from Sweeney Murti:

Sweeny Murti@YankeesWFAN

Pineda was asked several times if his arm was ok before admitting soreness. Said it was “normal” but that’s not a good area to point to.

The fact that he had to be prodded tells me two things. One, that Pineda didn’t think the situation was all that serious or out of the ordinary, and two that the Yankees didn’t like what they saw on the mound last night one bit. Players will often alter their mechanics when they’re injured or out of shape, which Cone referred to on the broadcast numerous times. Every pitcher has soreness after an outing, but it appears he strained something by altering his normal mechanics. It’s also important to distinguish between ‘soreness’ and ‘pain’. Pain is typically a word you hear before someone gets sent to Dr Andrews, ‘soreness’ is in most cases less serious. Of course, we should wait for the results of the MRI before passing any judgement, but looking at the info available to us now it doesn’t sound like anything worth panicking over. Given the way he pitched last night, this gives the Yanks an excuse to let him reset the clock, get himself in the kind of shape they wanted him to be in when he reported to camp, and work on his velocity and change up in AAA. With the way he pitched last night, the Yanks may have been looking for an excuse to do just that.

Mark Feinsand

Another Cashman on Pineda: “We’ve asked the question because of the velocity, how do you feel physically? He’s always felt fine. The answer has always been good. In terms of his mechanics, everything else like that, the only thing that has obviously been a red flag has been the velocity.”

For those of you who were unconcerned about Pineda’s velocity before last night, it’s worth noting the GM didn’t feel the same way. After what happened with Phil Hughes last year and Chien Ming Wang in 2009, both of whom showed diminished velocity in camp that led to disastrous April performances and subsequent injury diagnosis, to be unconcerned is to ignore the recent past. Some folks chalk these stories up to anti-Yankee bias, don’t like the reporters who are pushing them, or think it’s just an annual meme that fills up space during slow news days in camp. For the 3rd time in the past 4 years, that take has proven to be wrong.

Finally, there’s a lot of sentiment out there that Pineda was damaged goods before he was sent here.

Sweeny Murti@YankeesWFAN

I already see the “damaged goods” tweets, but need to see what the tests show…and remember, they gave full physical before the trade

Defeating the Damaged Goods Theory–Pineda’s pre-trade physical did include a shoulder MRI.

 It’s also worth noting that his innings went from 139.1 in 2010 to 171 in 2011, which is manageable and right around the 30-40 inning jump that most teams subscribe to for pitchers under 25 years old. His velocity was consistent throughout last year except for his final game, an emergency start that lasted 4 innings coming off 11 days rest. MRIs can miss things, as we saw last year with Pedro Feliciano. But if Michael Pineda never rediscovers his missing velocity, it will not be because the Yanks were asleep at the switch when they made this deal. Anyone who knows anything about how the team operates knows that they leave no stone unturned.

20 thoughts on “Updates and thoughts on Pineda’s injury

  1. ,I literally cannot in good conscience post what myACTUAL comment was to this. To be honest the lack of any concern, especially at RAB, was annoying. That being said it is quite common for hard throwers to see a significant vel decrease in their second years. Im thinking verlander and greinke and a bit less lincecum. I think pineda has the slider and command to get through this year effective but it seems lots of these guys let the foot off the gas after first success. I think he will be fine and i expected a step back year followed by a great year next year.

    The real story here is the kind of blogodphere echo chamber that develops as an over reactio to irrational fans. It was CLEARLY disturbing. Even with his peripherals and slider if pineda pitched last yr at 89-91 there is no freaking way montero is traded for him. Hell if this was his starting vel he would have been no better than a top 75 prospect. Its the command vrlocity slider COMBO that makes him salivatingly tantalyzing.

    It will be fine but he wont throw 97 this year. After build up he will be 92 94 and next year we will see the real pineda

  2. Man, I always thought most of the risk was on the Yankees side when they made this trade. A young pitcher staying healthy is just such a risky proposition. Lets hope this is just some fatigue from the innings increase, and performance exertion from last year, and he will be fine in a month or 2.
    He did have a similar shoulder issue that shut him down for a couple months in the minors a few years back, I don’t know about you guys but 2 of those type of things would seem to be worrisome for a looming larger issue.

  3. Bah, I should have looked it up before posting. It was elbow issues in that caused him to miss time in 09.

  4. A person at another site said this is a good thing, as it will slow him down and allow the team to develop him slowly instead of him trying to force things. I agree with that. No reason for him to try and hurry back and possibly aggravate the injury into something serious.

  5. I disagree with the recurring ‘this isn’t a bad thing’ mantra. It’s very possible this is a very bad thing. There’s an old saying in baseball that applies here: ‘young pitchers will break your heart’. It’s why so many people were against this trade from the start.
    I think his poor second half, his decreased velocity, and now this raise serious red flags.
    Just last year, Cashman signed a guy with lots of red flags. The blogosphere said it was a great move. Meanwhile one of the owners signed another RP and got lambasted here and elsewhere. The end result is that Cashman’s move was a mistake-paying 2 years for a guy who’ll never pitch in NY. Meanwhile Soriano is a productive (and healthy) part of the BP.
    The hope is that he’s healthy enough to contribute something sooner or later, though that’s anything but a given. Dismissing the Yankee fans that are concerned about all of this as being stupid or reactionary doesn’t make them (us) wrong. We’ve been down this road before. (Pavano Wright, a bunch of RPs, etc.)

  6. Pitchers get injured, that is just a fact. Hopefully, Pineda can build up his strength and get everything sorted out and can come back looking more like he did last year. However, it is concerning that a pitching regime over the winter would be not to throw. I am not saying someone should be pitching at 100% anytime in the winter, but maybe doing some long toss for 10 minutes a day would keep the arm loose and not do any actual harm since you would be throwing it 50%.

  7. cesar cabral has a stress gracture and will be on the dl. When the season starts and since he is on the DL, does that mean the Yankees still have Cabral and Rapada on the team? When he gets off the DL, must the Yankees have both on the roster or will lose 1 or the other? Anyone knows. Cabral can be an asset in years to come.

  8. If they take Rapada with them and put Cabral on the DL, yes they keep both. It just takes up two 40 man spots, so if one is needed Cabral to the 60 or Rapada being DFA’d are the first likely options.

  9. Ill be honest I’ve watched him closely and he looks like he is gonna be pretty damn good. The slider is fantastic, the change looks good, seemed like he threw a fairly effective slurvy show me curve. At 9/ to 92 he will be good. When he gets back to 95 he will be the best young pitcher ive ever seen for the yanks. I was,little for guidrys first two years and ragd never pit,it all together and then got joba’d.

    Im concerned but psyched. Since gooden burst on the scene i’ve lusted after a great YOUNG fire balling sp. I still think it works out….uness Montero is merely a well below average catcher and not the unplayable mess he has looked like. If that happens winning the trade will require campos and pineda to both be 3.5 win pitchers for five years.

    Still optimistic.