Hey, remember that big trade the Yankees made in January? They sent their best prospect to Seattle for a couple of young pitchers. One of them was supposed to be this 22-year-old stud who the Yanks could pair up with CC Sabathia to form a top flight 1-2 punch for the next 4-5 years. I think his name was Pineda? Michael Pineda? That's him, right? Yeah, well if you remember him you probably also remember that he had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder and missed the entire 2012 season. Reports from Brian Cashman this past weekend have Pineda missing at least the first couple months of next season as well, so don't expect to see him as an option for the 2013 rotation, at least not right off the bat.
In all seriousness, this isn't all that surprising. When Pineda had surgery the expected recovery time was about 12-14 months, and this latest update from Cash puts him right inside that target time frame. In the same ESPN Radio interview where he put his spin on the A-Rod situation, Cash put to bed any possibility of Pineda being ready for Opening Day, saying, "“We have to keep him off our radar for now. We’re talking June of next year."
The last update on Pineda that I can remember before this one was a report that he was on target to start throwing again in September. I haven't heard anything since the beginning of September confirming that Pineda has started throwing or providing updates on how he looks, so this is most likely the Yankees continuing to err on the side of caution with Pineda and making damn sure he gets enough time to rehab and come back in the best shape possible.
A June return probably means we're looking at July before Pineda is back to throwing a full outing's worth of pitches, something that could make it even easier than I originally thought for the Yankees to monitor his pitch and innings counts as they work him back from this injury. In a way, Pineda can almost be next season what Andy Pettitte was this season; the 6th or 7th insurance starter who can step in and fill a spot if and when the rotation is hit with injuries. That is, assuming he stays on schedule and doesn't have any more problems going into next season. It's still nowhere near what Cash envisioned when he made this trade, but it's something.