NEW YORK – New York Yankees right-handed pitcher Michael Pineda will be shut down for ten days after an MRI on Tuesday revealed a Grade 1 strain of the teres major muscle in his upper back. The injury will reportedly cause the former American League All-Star miss a total of three to four weeks.
Pineda felt discomfort in his upper back and removed himself after one inning of a simulated game which he was throwing at the team’s complex in Tampa. The 25-year-old flew back to New York, where he was examined and diagnosed by team physician Christopher Ahmad.
Currently serving a ten-game suspension for using pine tar during a game against the Boston Red Sox last Thursday, Pineda was expected to return to the rotation and start against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim on Monday.
Instead, manager Joe Girardi revealed that emergency starter David Phelps, who will start in Pineda’s place on Wednesday and be limited to 75 pitches, will serve as a fill-in for the next few weeks while the team waits for Pineda to get healthy. Phelps lost out to Pineda for the final spot in the Yankees rotation this spring.
Through a team spokesman, general manager Brian Cashman said he wasn’t sure yet whether Pineda would immediately go on the disabled list or wait until after his current suspension is over. While Pineda is suspended, the Yankees must play with a 24-man roster.
Pineda appeared to have regained his All-Star form in his first four starts prior to his suspension, recording a 2-2 record and a 1.83 ERA. The hard-throwing right hander has recorded 15 strikeouts while walking just three batters in 19 2/3 innings. He did not pitch in the major leagues in either of the past two seasons after undergoing labrum surgery on his pitching shoulder.