Wednesday, April 25, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Pineda Has Labral Tear

Via Mark Feinsand and multiple other Yankee reporters, the diagnosis is in for Michael Pineda and it isn't good.

The 2nd MRI today revealed an anterior labral tear to his pitching shoulder.  Surgery has already been scheduled for next Tuesday and it will be performed by the same doctor who Pineda went to see today for the 2nd opinion.

This isn't quite as big of a worst-case scenario as it could be if it was the shoulder capsule, but typical recovery time from this type of injury is estimated in months, which means we aren't going to be seeing anything from Pineda in a Yankee uniform this year.

More on this story as it becomes available.

** UPDATES- 4:47PM **

- Via Feinsand, Cash confirmed that Pineda will be out for the rest of this season and stated the team believes the injury took place on the final pitch of Pineda's rehab outing on Saturday.

- Via Dan Barbarisi, doctors confirmed that there was no damage to the rotator cuff, which makes the injury less severe and gives reason to be optimistic that Pineda can make a full recovery.

** UPDATE- 10:19PM- Via Chad Jennings, doctors are "cautiously optimistic" that Pineda will recover well from the surgery because there is no rotator cuff damage.  Cash stated that Pineda passed all his physicals, no previous MRIs showed any damage, and he responded fine to regular resistance stretching and tests even right up before his start last Saturday. **

Can Phil Hughes Take The Next Step?

(Be this guy tonight, Phil.)

It's been a rocky start for Phil Hughes in 2012, even rockier when you consider how well he pitched in Spring Training.  But his most recent start last Thursday was a step in the right direction.  Despite giving up some runs on 2-out hits (aided by an Eduardo Nunez error) and a HR on a poorly-located pitch, Hughes' overall performance was better than in his first 2 starts.  He was more efficient than he had been, and despite his inability to consistently get ahead in the count (only 9/25 1st-pitch strikes) he managed to throw strikes and work deeper into the game than one would expect after the work he had to put in in the top of the 1st.  His fastball velocity continued to be good, his command of the pitch was improved, and his curveball was the best its looked to date.

The question is how Hughes will follow up that outing tonight against a much more dangerous offensive team.  We've seen CC and Kuroda both stymie the Ranger lineup through the first 2 games of this series, but they're pitchers that can be expected to do that more so than Hughes because of their more well-rounded repertoire and better command.  Hughes, after showing some improvement with his changeup in camp, has really not used it much in his early outings, and his curveball has still not been good enough to qualify as "good."  He needs to utilize those pitches better and throw them for strikes tonight to keep the Texas lineup from murdering his fastball.  Having seen what he's done with both pitches so far, the question has to be asked whether or not he can do it.

The combination of Hughes' improved 3rd outing and Freddy's BP session on Saturday have probably saved Hughes from being the primary target for rotation replacement for the time being.  He can go a long way towards solidifying his spot for the near future with a good outing against a good hitting team tonight.  In order to do so, though, he needs to build on his finish to his last outing and try to be a more complete pitcher.

The Right Man For Pineda's 2nd Opinion

As you know if you're a regular follower of the AB4AR Facebook Page, the results of Michael Pineda's dye contrast MRI were delayed yesterday after it was reported that his agent requested a 2nd opinion.  That request was made PRIOR to the completion of the MRI, which makes the situation slightly less stressful, but it still probably means more bad than good.

All I know is, if Pineda is getting this 2nd opinion today, there's only one doctor he should be seeing.

Game 17 Wrap-Up: TEX 2 NYY 0

(Nothing to be ashamed of, Hiroki.  Courtesy of The AP)

The quickly-hyped "Hiroki Kuroda vs. Yu Darvish" matchup was the focal point of last night's game, and it lived up to its billing.  Both pitchers showcased the best that Japan has to offer in what must have been a very prideful experience for all Japanese baseball fans.  In the end, Darvish was better and led his team to a 2-0 victory.

Game Notes:

- Kuroda was very good last night, but had a few hiccups that really cost him a great outing.  He gave up a leadoff homer to Ian Kinsler in the bottom of the 1st, then retired 8 of the next 9 batters he faced into the 3rd inning, 6 of them via groundout.

- With 2 outs in the 3rd, Kuroda gave up a walk to Elvis Andrus and an RBI single to Josh Hamilton to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead, then worked the next 4 innings scoreless with 4 strikeouts.  His stuff was very good, and his command much improved from his last outing, but a few offspeed pitches left a little too high up in the zone killed him.

- Darvish, on the other hand, was money.  He used 103 pitches to work through the first 7 innings, and it was easy to tell he was on his game as he struck out 9 batters (including the side in the 7th) with a dazzling array of moving fastballs and offspeed stuff and also got 9 groundball outs.

- As good as Darvish was, the Yankees blew a golden opportunity in the top of the 3rd.  They loaded the bases with no outs after a walk to Russell Martin sandwiched between 2 singles from Eric Chavez and Derek Jeter, but failed to score after Darvish battled out of the inning by striking out Curtis Granderson and inducing a double play off the bat of Alex Rodriguez.

- After that, the Yankees put a runner on base in every inning through 7, but never really mounted much of a rally against Darvish. 

- I wouldn't have blamed Ron Washington if he went to his 'pen after 7, even as good as Darvish was, but he showed confidence in Darvish and was rewarded with a 1-2-3 inning in the 8th and even an out in the 9th.  Darvish gave his team length and dominant length at that in his 8 innings of work to earn the win, looking completely like a pitcher worth $112 million.

- Bullpen props to the Yankees' LOOGY crew of Rapada & Logan, who retired the 2 batters they faced, and Texas' Joe Nathan, who needed just one pitch to get a game-ending DP from Raul Ibanez.