Michael Pineda Will Likely Start Season in Minors After Bad Outing

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst IMarch 31, 2012

Ron Antonelli/NY Daily News
Ron Antonelli/NY Daily News

Michael Pineda got smacked around in his last start of the spring in the New York Yankees' game with the Philadelphia Phillies. With the terrible outing, Pineda will almost certainly be optioned to Triple-A and start the season on the farm.

To add injury to insult, Pineda will undergo an MRI on his right shoulder as a result of soreness he felt after his latest start. That's got to be concerning considering his velocity issues this spring. For the Yanks' sake, let's hope the two are not connected. Otherwise, it could spell major problems.

Pineda went 2.2 innings and allowed six runs. His spring ERA jumped from a respectable 3.31 to a hard-to-look-at 5.68.

There are too many questions surrounding Pineda right now and of all their starters. The Yanks have the easiest case to make that Pineda should start the season someplace other than the starting rotation.

Let me count the ways.

1. Overweight

2. Velocity down

3. Shoulder soreness

4. Bad final outing

People will overreact and already begin to denounce the Pineda-Jesus Montero deal with the Seattle Mariners, but it's far too early to make such a statement.

Montero is only two games into his Mariner career and he has one hit in seven at-bats. On the flip side, Pineda hasn't even taken the mound in a regular season game for the Bombers yet.

However, this is a step in the wrong direction for the eventual outlook of this deal. While Montero will undoubtedly help his team immediately, it appears that Pineda is still months away from even being given the opportunity to try.

That is a disappointing prospect for a pitcher and former All-Star who many Yankees fans coveted as a possible No. 2 starter this season.

Advantage: Seattle. So far, at least.

But, to be fair, if New York didn't have an overabundance of pitching and Pineda was 100 percent healthy, he'd most likely be penciled in as the team's fourth or fifth starter to begin the season.

The only question that remains is whether or not Pineda will be able to crack the rotation at all now that he hasn't done so out of spring training. More importantly, is he even healthy enough to take the mound at all?

The Yankees rotation stands to feature CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia. Throw in Andy Pettitte's eventual return to the starting five, and there just simply isn't any room for the young right-hander.

Pineda might be hard-pressed to find an opening in this rotation for him to squeeze into during the 2012 campaign. This might be a longer stint in the minors than any of us think.


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