NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Help appears to be on the way.
The Yankees have navigated the last few weeks without three starting pitchers. And while their replacements have done an admirable job all things considered, the Bombers desperately need some stability.
Michael Pineda could add that.
Pineda, who has been on the disabled list with a back injury since May 6, looked good during an extended spring training outing on Tuesday at the Yankees’ minor league complex in Tampa. The 25-year-old right-hander allowed one unearned run, two hits, struck out four, walked one and threw 28 pitches, including 20 for strikes, in two innings. The Yankees said he will likely throw 50-60 pitches in another extended spring training game on Sunday. A rehab start could follow, manager Joe Girardi said.
Previously, Pineda had thrown 28 pitches of live batting practice on Saturday.
Pineda has had a weird start to his first full season following two years on the shelf due to a shoulder injury. He was 2-2 with a 1.83 ERA in four starts before being suspended for 10 games for applying pine tar to his body. He then pulled a lat muscle throwing a simulated game during his suspension.
The Yankees, who trailed AL East-leading Toronto by 2 games heading into the middle game of their series in St. Louis on Tuesday, have been consistently inconsistent since losing both Pineda and CC Sabathia to injuries. Sabathia may not return until July at the earliest due to a degenerative problem in his right knee.
Starter Ivan Nova suffered an elbow injury during the third week of April and underwent Tommy John surgery, ending his season.
The Yankees have split 24 games since May 1, but their issues have come more on the offensive side of the field. Fill-in starters David Phelps, Vidal Nuno and Chase Whitley are not what the Yankees envisioned when they spent nearly $500 million during the offseason to make a run at the World Series a year after finishing in third place in the AL East, but the three young pitchers have not done poorly.
Phelps has a 2.82 ERA in four starts, Nuno has a 4.42 ERA in seven starts and Whitley has a 2.57 ERA in three starts.
Still, it would behoove the Yankees to get power arms back into the rotation and add more stability to the bullpen, which is already a strength but would only get better with Phelps and Nuno in tow.
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