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“The dangerous thing about this time of year”

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The Yankees asked Michael Pineda several times this spring whether his arm was sore. They knew his velocity was down, and they wanted to make sure he felt OK. It wasn’t until last night, after he’d been taken out of the game, that Pineda mentioned tightness in his right shoulder.

“That can be the danger of when you have competitions,” manager Joe Girardi said. “That maybe someone doesn’t say something and there’s something bothering them a little bit.”

Two innings after Pineda exited, Cesar Cabral pitched through a scoreless inning. He only admitted afterward that his elbow was in significant pain.

“He didn’t let on either,” Girardi said. “He finished the inning. That’s the dangerous thing about this time of year. That’s the true danger, because everyone’s trying to make a team. It’s what you dream about as a little kid, what you do all the work for.”

The Yankees don’t know how long Pineda’s been feeling this soreness in his shoulder, but it certainly could explain the diminished velocity, and it certainly could keep him from opening the season in the big league rotation. The team is confident that Cabral never felt any pain until last night, but obviously there’s now significant concern about his elbow.

“There’s a competitive nature in every one of them or they wouldn’t be here,” Girardi said. “That’s part of the game. That’s what makes them successful. That’s how athletes push through things, and sometimes you don’t know the difference between stiffness and soreness and maybe being hurt.”

Two MRI’s this morning will know the difference, and they could have a significant impact on the pitching staff that heads to Tropicana Field in six days.

Associated Press photo