David Phelps left Sunday night’s start with elbow inflammation that he has been battling for nearly a month now. This injury could not have come at a worse time for the Yankees as we are in the final stretch of the regular season. Over two thirds of the season is behind us and the Yankees are barely hanging on for one of the two Wild Card playoff spots in the American League. The Yankees may have to ultimately ditch any ideas of winning the division and focus on the wild card but that’s tough when five of your starting pitchers are on the disabled list. One of those starters on the DL is Michael Pineda and it may be time to take the diapers off the right hander and really rush him back.
Pineda has been battling a teres major muscle strain in his back/shoulder area and has been out since the infamous second pine tar incident in Boston. Pineda had one set back and another bad evaluation that caused more rest for the shoulder. Now Pineda is back and fresh off throwing three shutout innings for the Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders. Pineda is expected to throw around 75-80 pitches in his next start on Friday which got me thinking, should this start come in the major leagues or should it come in Scranton?
Pineda looks healthy and as small of a sample size of one start and three plus innings is he looked sharp and in control of the baseball. You didn’t see the obvious signs of rust and fatigue and command and control issues that easily get brushed off with the ‘at least he came through it healthy” mentality. Pineda looks good and looks to be throwing like he was pre-injury. With the current state of the Yankees bullpen and starting rotation would 75-80 pitches not be better suited in the Bronx Friday against a lesser hitting team like the Indians then wasted in the minor leagues?
It may be rushing him, I admit that, but it’s time to take the training wheels off. The Yankees are well known for the babying of their pitchers and protecting their investments but you won’t have the money to invest if New York misses the postseason for a second straight season. I hope Brian Cashmand and Joe Girardi are reading this because the team needs a savior and that savior isn’t saving anything if he is pitching in Triple-A on Friday. Make it happen or throw in the white towel because we’re done.