After a jaw dropping 11-3 loss against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night, the New York Yankees are pulling out all the stops.
He hasn’t pitched for the team since April, but Michael Pineda is back. Pineda will make his first appearance on Wednesday since his 10 day suspension on April 23rd when he was caught with pine tar on his neck during a game against long time rival, Boston Red Sox. Before his suspension Pineda was 2-2 with a 1.83 ERA. Shortly after, he sustained a shoulder injury in May and has been in rehab ever since.
Even though I believe that his injury may have been some kind of karma for the use of the illegal substance, I think bringing back Pineda is exactly what the team needs right now. The Yankees’ bullpen is just not where it used to be, especially after placing three of the most talented Yankees pitchers (CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, and Ivan Nova) on the disabled list. To be honest, pitching is where the team’s shortcomings lie.
Pineda said in an interview that he knows he made a mistake the night he used pine tar and that he will not use it again. He also said, “Everything is in the past right now. I want to continue my career and that’s it. I’m focused on my game and I’m focused on pitching.”
I’m actually a little surprised in how much trust his team and Yankees manager Girardi are putting in him. That was not the first time Pineda used pine tar in a game. He openly admitted to using it in a series against the Red Sox two weeks prior and not only that, but it was rumored he used it when he played in the Mariners organization.
The one thing I am nervous about is how long Pineda will last in the game. There’s no doubt he’ll pitch the start of the game in great shape. However, as we saw last night, The Orioles have both strong pitching and hitting. I hope to see Pineda last a solid amount of innings, but knowing that he’s fresh out of rehab (even if he has been pitching well) doesn’t put me at ease. His rehab consisted of only two minor league starts with Triple-A affiliate Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last week.
“The stuff was good,” Girardi said about Pineda’s pitching. “You’re never sure when a guy’s rehabbing how the arm strength is going to be or how sharp they’re going to be, but he threw the ball well.”
With all of my worries aside, I must say that I have faith in Girardi. Girardi is a pretty cautious person, especially when it comes to putting a player back into the game and knowing whether or not they’re ready for it. We’re experiencing it now with Tanaka, who I am still hoping to see return to the team before their series against the Blue Jays at the end of the month.
Wednesday night for the Yankees is riding on Pineda. In order to make any kind of progress for the rest of the season, the bullpen needs to take it to the next level and I think we will see that in this series.