MRI Scheduled As Yankees' Rotation In Danger Of Losing Another Key Piece

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s some bad karma floating around the Yankees’ Michael Pineda right now.

The embattled right-hander, who is in the midst of serving a 10-game suspension for using pine tar on the mound, was forced out of a simulated game on Tuesday with a tight lat and was to have an MRI, WFAN’s Sweeny Murti reported.

Pineda’s start Monday at the Los Angeles Angels is now in jeopardy.

The Yankees, who are in first place in the AL East, are also without right-hander Ivan Nova, who underwent successful “Tommy John” surgery on Tuesday and will miss the remainder of the season. Any long-term injury to Pineda would force the Yankees to act. Capable young left-hander Vidal Nuno replaced Nova in the rotation to mixed reviews, but it’s unknown what the backup plan would be should Pineda miss extended time, but one would have to think general manager Brian Cashman would explore a trade.

The hard-throwing right-hander has gone from the penthouse to the outhouse seemingly overnight. After missing nearly two years with a shoulder injury, Pineda performed beautifully during spring training, easily winning the No. 5 starter spot in the rotation.

He started the regular season by allowing just two earned runs in his first 18 innings, displaying a fastball consistently at 95 mph and a nasty slider. However, things went off the rails a bit in his last outing, April 23 at Boston. Pineda was ejected in the second inning after the home plate umpire spotted pine tar on his neck.

The incident marked the second time in three starts that Pineda and “pine tar” collided in the same sentences. Back on April 10 at Yankee Stadium, New England Sports Network cameras spotted a substance believed to be pine tar on Pineda’s palm, though subsequent shots of the pitcher’s hand later in the game showed a clean palm.

The Yankees downplayed the incident and Pineda initially said the substance on his hand was dirt, though later admitted it was pine tar.

Little did anyone expect the substance to become an issue, but it came full circle in Pineda’s last outing when Red Sox manager John Farrell asked the home plate umpire to check Pineda, who later said he used pine tar so that he could get a better grip on the ball on what was a blustery night at Fenway Park.

The Yankees have played with 24 men on their roster since Pineda’s suspension.

Overall, Pineda is 2-2 with a 1.83 ERA.

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