Michael Pineda's time with the New York Yankees has been plagued by injuries and trips to the disabled list. But just in time for a push to the postseason, the starting pitcher will return to the team on Wednesday.
Sweeney Murti of WFAN reported the news Monday:
Yankees announced that Michael Pineda will start Wed in Baltimore. Will be his first appearance since Pine Tar Game (2014) April 23.— Sweeny Murti (@YankeesWFAN) August 11, 2014
Pineda also spoke about his return and what he's hoping for (via Brendan Kuty of NJ.com):
Michael Pineda said he could probably give the #Yankees 85-90 pitches.— Brendan Kuty (@BrendanKutyNJ) August 11, 2014
The Yankees traded Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi to the Seattle Mariners for Pineda and Jose Campos in 2012. Pineda missed the entire 2012 season with a right shoulder injury and didn't appear in the big leagues in 2013, making several appearances in the minors before being shut down.
Pineda started 2014 with a bang, however, going 2-2 with a 1.83 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 15 strikeouts in 19.2 innings pitched. But in April, he was suspended 10 games for smearing pine tar on his neck and rubbing it on his fingers while he pitched against the Boston Red Sox.
Things got worse later that month, when he injured his back throwing a simulated game and was forced out of action until a late July minor league rehab start.
The Yankees could really use him. The team is six games back in the AL East but 2.5 games behind the Kansas City Royals in the wild-card chase. With Ivan Nova and CC Sabathia both done for the season and Masahiro Tanaka rehabbing his throwing elbow for the time being, the Bronx Bombers could use all the arms they can get.
Masahiro Tanaka is throwing at Camden Yards right now. Michael Pineda is about to join him. Yankees pennant hopes literally in their hands.— Sweeny Murti (@YankeesWFAN) August 11, 2014
All indications are that Pineda should hit the ground running.
"Everything is good, everything is the same," he told . "My off-speed pitches are there, my velocity is good. Everything is good, so I'm feeling good. I'm happy with that."
His last outing in the minors seemed to back up that assessment, per Murti:
Michael Pineda's line for AAA @swbrailriders: 4.1 IP, 6 hits, 1 run, 0 walks, 7 strikeouts. 72 pitches.— Sweeny Murti (@YankeesWFAN) August 9, 2014
If Pineda can replicate the form he was showing at the beginning of the season, he'll bolster the rotation and perhaps give the Yankees the push they need to reach the postseason. In a wild-card race that currently has five teams within five games of one another, every little advantage is vital.
Given Pineda's history with injuries, Yankees fans will be watching him pitch with clenched fists. But if he can stay healthy and is effective, he could help vault the team into October.