Yankees’ Michael Pineda throwing off flat-ground

Yankees GM Brian Cashman has cautioned fans not to count on Michael Pineda returning on time next season, but he told Chad Jennings of the Journal News that his rehab is going well and he has even begun throwing off flat-ground.

“I think we’re going to put him off to the side,” Cashman said. “His rehab will take him into — which is going fine, but he’s just flat-ground throwing – but it will take him into late May (or) June. I think it’s best for us to pretend he’s not even there and then have him sneak up on us. And I hope he does, but I’m not going to count on him. I don’t think that’s going to be fair.

“Our fans need us to obviously put something there that you feel good about, and I don’t want to put something there that will take care of it in April and May and it’s kind of locked in, from June on we’re going to have this guy. That would be a mistake. He’ll be ready when he’s ready, and we’ll be happy to take him. But to count on him would be wrong.”

Pineda is obviously recovering from shoulder surgery which, unlike elbow surgery (or Tommy John Surgery), pitchers don’t have a great track record of recovery and often have setbacks. That’s why Cashman is cautioning fans the way he has. Pineda made it sound at times last season like he would be ready around Spring Training, but that’s just not realistic. If he pitches at all next year it’ll be a bonus. At this point expect him to be ready for 2014 if he even reaches the level he was at in 2011.

It is good that he’s throwing off flat ground. The surgery was supposed to be minor, relatively for shoulder surgery, and he hasn’t suffered any setbacks yet. So so far so good, but it is a very long process. Hopefully we keep getting positive updates like this.

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