Here’s the way Michael Pineda described his most recent setback:
“I feel great last week,” Pineda said. “Especially Monday. I feel 100 percent Monday. I’m pitching two innings on Tuesday, perfect, everything is good. After the game, later in the night, I felt something. Next day, off. The second day I started to play catch and felt something. It’s not that bad. … It’ll be OK. I feel ready Monday and Tuesday, 100 percent, 100 percent, and I’m pitching. Everything is coming good. My velocity is there; everything is there.”
Pineda said the discomfort or pain or tightness — whatever you want to call it — is in the exact same place, in that upper-back muscle near the right shoulder. He said the part of his shoulder that was surgically repaired still feels fine, he’s just not quite past this latest injury. He made it seem much less significant than earlier in the year, but Joe Girardi indicated the Yankees might give Pineda more rest this time around.
“That’s a doctor’s call,” Girardi said. “I think the last time we shut him down 10 days before he picked up a baseball, and I’m sure it will be 10 days here, maybe a little more depending on what they feel. It’s a doctor’s call. It’s not what we want. It’s very similar to what he had about six weeks ago. It’s unfortunate, but we’ll try to get him going again.”
Pretty deflating situation for the Yankees, who expected Pineda to pitch in an intrasquad game today. It seemed it could be back within two weeks or so. Instead, he’ll now sit out again before beginning to play catch.
“I feel sad,” Pineda said. “I don’t have nothing to do. I’m keeping my head up, continuing my work, and that’s it.”
• Francisco Cervelli. Remember him? What’s he up to? “He’s been running,” Girardi said. “He’s been preparing to play in games, basically. He’s run the bases, BP and caught and all that stuff. I don’t know when they have him playing in a game, but it’s pretty close.”
• Cervelli isn’t eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list until mid-June, but if he’s close to play in rehab games, then he’s fairly close to being activated. John Ryan Murphy has been terrific, but Girardi said Cervelli is probably coming back to the big league team in some capacity. “I plan on him being back here,” Girardi said. “… Obviously Cervy was playing extremely well too, and we’ll figure out what we’re going to do in that situation, how we’re going to use the guys and go from there. Hopefully the decision isn’t easy for me – that’s always the worst part of it – but Cervy was playing extremely well and gives us a lot of flexibility.”
• Random thought, but could the Yankees carry three catchers? Right now Zoilo Almonte is taking a roster spot without having any sort of clear role, and the team could use a right-handed hitter. Especially if Mark Teixeira can’t play every day, is it possible to carry a third catcher and kind of bank on Kelly Johnson and Yangervis Solarte’s ability to play the outfield if necessary? “We haven’t talked about it just because we knew he was on the 60-day DL,” Girardi said. “It’s mid-June (before he can come back). We just really haven’t talked about it. And a lot of times we don’t cross those bridges until you get close because things come up.”
• As for Teixeira, Girardi said the Yankees are going to give the cortisone shot two days — today and tomorrow — before evaluating Teixeira’s status. The Yankees face a left-handed pitcher on Tuesday, so they’d like to have Teixeira in the lineup that night. “It’s bothered him more facing a right hander more than a left hander,” Girardi said. “So we’ll see where he’s at Tuesday.”
• Girardi said it’s day-to-day who plays first base while Teixeira is out. He didn’t rule out putting Brian McCann back there at some point. “I have a number of guys who are candidates,” Girardi said. “It’s just a matter of who I decide to put there. As I’ve said all along, I think Kelly (Johnson)’s capable of handling it.”
• And if the cortisone shot doesn’t work for Teixeira? “I think you’re probably looking at more than a couple of days or three days rest,” Girardi said. “From a (health) standpoint, the sheath is repaired, so it’s not like you go in there and do something. It would just be more rest.”
• Today is the Yankee Stadium return of Phil Hughes. “He did a lot of good things for us,” Girardi said. “(In) 2009 he was an outstanding eighth-inning guy for us. The next year he wins 18 games. He wins 16 games for us another year. When I think of Hughesy, I think he was a good kid who was a great teammate and did some good things for us.”
Associated Press photos