According to Joe Girardi, Michael Pineda’s 45-pitch simulated game was “really good” earlier today, so good that he’ll begin a real rehab assignment on Sunday.
“He will make a start somewhere,” Giradri said. “Four innings and 60-65 pitches will be his next move. Not exactly sure where it’s going to be — they were talking about that today — but it will be a regular game.”
Girardi said he wants Pineda to get extended to around 90 pitches — making sure he’s able to bounce back after that many — before being activated. Girardi wouldn’t say exactly how many rehab starts that’ll take, but the logical guess seems to be three.
“Whatever they say he needs is what it is,” Girardi said. “This one could be 60-65. The next one, depending on how many throws, could be add 15, 20 pitches (more). So I don’t know exactly how many it is. I’m not going to put a number on it.”
With Pineda’s rehab clock starting on Sunday, he can’t rehab more than 30 days after that, so he’s at least close enough to begin thinking about a rough time when he might return — roughly mid-August if all goes well. Maybe the Yankees will have traded for a new starter by then, maybe not, but Pineda would actually become the first Yankees starter to come back from a DL stint this season.
“It’s hard to tell where we’ll be when it’s his turn to come off,” Girardi said. “Where we’ll physically be. Some of these guys physically, they might feel good, but as we’ve seen, you can never have too many starters.”
• Brendan Ryan is at second base today, and Girardi indicated that it could be a few days before Brian Roberts is back in the lineup. Apparently there’s no one glaring injury, but Girardi said Roberts needs some days off for general fatigue and soreness. “He’s been beat up pretty good this year physically,” Girardi said. “He’s answered the bell every day that we’ve called upon him and he’s played hard for us. I’m not so sure that there could be a little bit (of fatigue) there, but there’s a little bit in everybody that’s running out there this time of year. … He’s dealing with soreness that players have. Legs get beat up, you hit balls off your feet, shins. It’s all part of it.”
• Will we see some other players getting more second base time the rest of the season? “I’m not saying the rest of the way,” Girardi said. Seems that, for now, Roberts needing rest is seen as a temporary situation.
• Any similar issues with Ichiro Suzuki? “He’s played a lot too,” Girardi said. “There could be. Ich is different because Ich never looks like he’s tired. That’s just who he is, but there could be some fatigue there too, I don’t know.”
• Kelly Johnson is expected to come off the disabled list as soon as he’s eligible next Thursday. “As of now he’s doing pretty good,” Girardi said. “He’ll probably play a game or two of rehab just so he can get some at-bats. We feel that he’s going to be ready.”
• No hesitation about putting Mark Teixeira in the lineup today. He apparently woke up feeling good, and so the Yankees have him back at first base and back in the cleanup spot. Middle of the order looks a lot better with him in there. “I think you’ve still got to keep an eye on him,” Girardi said. “Anytime a guy’s had something, I think you’ve still got to keep an eye on him. But you could see a little hop in his step, and that he feels good.”
• Because of their recent workload, Dellin Betances was no available last night and Dave Robertson was a maybe. Sounds like they’re both options tonight.
• With Teixeira back at first base, Brian McCann gets to go back behind the plate. “I’m sure he’s glad to be back there,” Girardi said. “I thought he did a decent job for us. It’s not easy. I think sometimes people think about when we used to play first base in tee ball or first and second grade, when there wasn’t much to do at the position. But there’s a lot of responsibility at the position, and As much as you see as a catcher, it’s a totally different view when you’re out there.”
• Brett Gardner was cracking up — and clearly thrilled — about last night’s Yu Darvish quote. Regarding Gardner’s home runs against him, Darvish said he blamed Gardner’s parents for creating a “great hitter.” Gardner made sure to note that Darvish said “great” not “good.” Hilarious.
Associated Press photos