Before yesterday’s opener against the Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi discussed injured starter Michael Pineda. When Pineda’s initial diagnosis of shoulder tendinitis was announced, many assumed the right-hander would be sidelined at least through April. While speaking to members of the press yesterday Girardi confirmed that it’s “safe to say” the Yankees will be without Pineda for the first month of the season.
Once the tendinitis was realized, Girardi came out and said the Yankees would be shutting Pineda down for 10-15 days to allow him to rest his shoulder. Because of this time off, the best case timetable for Pineda’s return appears to be early May.
New York will continue to go with veteran Freddy Garcia as their fifth starter, but the Yankees will face several interesting decisions in the coming month. Not only is Pineda currently unavailable, but so is Andy Pettitte. After Pineda is healthy and Pettitte builds up his arm, the Yankees will have seven pitchers for five rotation spots.
C.C. Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda are locks to remain in New York’s starting five. Garcia seems the most likely to go or be pushed to the bullpen, but Phil Hughes has also been used as a reliever and the Yankees could option Ivan Nova back to the minors to make room for Pineda or Pettitte.
Too many viable starting pitching options is a nice ‘problem’ to have, but it certainly makes for interesting early-season storylines.
For more on the Yankees, be sure to check out Yanks Go Yard.