When talking about next year’s version of the Yankees, fans keep bringing up the name Michael Pineda, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, as someone who might be available out of the rotation. Unfortunately that’s probably a bit optimistic.
It’s hard to blame them, Pineda himself said that he’d be ready by spring training. The reality is that shoulder surgeries are nasty things for pitchers that usually includes a few setbacks and more often is a two year recovery period than a one year thing.
Brian Cashman is slightly more realistic. He told Ian O’Connor on his ESPNNewYork radio show over the weekend that Pineda won’t be ready to start the season.
“We have to keep him off our radar for now. … We’re talking June of next year … the second half of next year.”
That’s more likely. Since the injury, my thinking has been that Pineda would be out for all of 2012 and most of 2013. I try not to even consider him as a possibility for next year’s team and if he shows up at all I’ll be pleasantly surprised.
The problem is that, again, shoulder surgeries are nasty. For every success story it seems like there are five to 10 guys who never reach their pre-surgery level again or even pitch again. Even once they get back on the mound again, setbacks are an all too common occurrence. The painful truth is that Pineda may never pitch at an All-Star level for the Yankees.
Just look at Mets’ starter Johan Santana. He injured his shoulder at the end of 2010 and missed all of the 2011 season. Once he came back in 2012 it didn’t take long until he aggravated the injury. He tried to pitch through it, but was ineffective and eventually had to be shut down again. And that’s a mature veteran we’re talking about. With Pineda’s immaturity both on and off the mound, we have to worry about him trying to rush back, not trusting his stuff, or simply not knowing how to adjust his new limitations once he is back on the mound.
Cashman talks about getting Pineda back in June. I see that as a best case scenario. In reality, you probably shouldn’t count on him at all.