Michael Pineda Rumors

Yankees Activate Michael Pineda, Designate Chris Capuano

The Yankees have designated lefty Chris Capuano yet again, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. His roster spot was needed for the activation of righty Michael Pineda. (New York also optioned Nick Rumbelow and activated Nick Goody, both of whom are also right-handed pitchers.)

Remarkably, this marks the fourth time in the last month that Capuano has hit DFA limbo. With a $5MM salary for this season and an unsightly 7.71 ERA, Capuano has cleared outright waivers and accepted an assignment to Triple-A on the three prior occasions.

The return of Pineda came somewhat sooner than had been expected, as he ultimately missed about a month with a right forearm strain. His health and effectiveness will obviously be critical down the stretch as the Yankees fight for the division title. And Pineda will also be pitching for his next contract, as he’ll hit arbitration for the second (and second-to-last) time over the winter looking to build off of his $2.1MM salary from the present season.

AL East Notes: Pineda, Sox First Basemen, Orioles, Blue Jays

Michael Pineda‘s stint on the disabled list may be shorter than expected, writes Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. Pineda is slated to make a rehab start for the Yankees‘ Double-A affiliate on Sunday, and while he’s only scheduled to throw 45 pitches, he could rejoin the big league rotation five or six days after that start. When Pineda initially landed on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right forearm, it was feared that he’d be out until sometime in September.

More news from the AL East as the weekend looms…

  • For all the focus on the Red Sox‘ need for pitching, the hole at first base will be a significant need that must be addressed in the offseason, writes WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. Boston has at least had internal discussions about moving Hanley Ramirez or Pablo Sandoval to first base, but neither player has been approached by the team yet, Bradford continues. Bradford handicaps the six likeliest scenarios for first base in 2016, with Ramirez leading the way, followed by a trade acquisition. As he notes, Allen Craig‘s light hitting even at Triple-A has probably removed him from the equation.
  • The Orioles will call up both catcher Steve Clevenger and outfielder Henry Urrutia today, reports MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko, but the corresponding 25-roster moves remain unknown. Kubatko notes that ailing backstop Matt Wieters could yet avoid the disabled list, however. Kubatko also spoke to GM Dan Duquette about the acquisitions of minor league right-handers Matt Buschmann and Jason Stoffel, noting that Stoffel in particular has a chance to impact the Orioles’ big league bullpen at some point. Buschmann, Duquette explained, is a veteran Triple-A arm brought in to help the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate, which is currently in contention.
  • MLB Network’s Peter Gammons recalls speaking with Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos last year about the measures Anthopoulos would take to improve the team. His top priority, according to Gammons, was to get more consistent by improving the club’s defense. As Gammons notes, while much is made of Toronto’s slugging lineup, Anthopoulos deserves credit for the equally impressive run-prevention makeover the team has undergone. By bringing in Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin in the offseason, trading for Troy Tulowitzki and Ben Revere, and giving the everyday center field role to Kevin Pillar, the Blue Jays have transformed into an outstanding defensive unit that complements a much-improved pitching staff.

Yankees Notes: Ackley, Pineda, Williams, Gregorius

The Yankees placed Dustin Ackley on the disabled list today due to a lumbar strain in his back. Ackley’s collected just three plate appearances since coming over from the Mariners in a trade, but Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters, including MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch (Twitter link) that he has no issues with the Mariners. Ackley was healthy at the time of the trade, said Cashman, who expects the outfielder to miss about 20 to 30 days.

More on the Yankees…

  • Also from Cashman (and also via Hoch), right-hander Michael Pineda won’t pitch in a Major League game in the month of August. The team is hopeful that Pineda, who hit the disabled list with a forearm strain shortly before the trade deadline, will return to the big league mound in September.
  • Hoch tweets that outfield prospect Mason Williams, who made his Major League debut with the Yankees this season, will have season-ending shoulder surgery on Friday. Formerly a consensus Top 100 prospect, Williams’ star has faded in recent years, but he put himself back on the Yankees’ radar in 2015 with a .318/.397/.398 batting line between Double-A and Triple-A this season. Though he hasn’t homered in the minors at all this season, he did homer in the Majors before landing on the disabled list. In eight games with the Yankees, he hit .286/.318/.571. Williams will accrue 116 days of Major League service time this season by virtue of his time spent on the 60-day DL.
  • The Yankees’ patience with Didi Gregorius is beginning to pay off, writes George A. King III of the New York Post. Though Gregorius batted just .221/.283/.297 through the season’s first two months, he’s now batting .291/.330/.396 since June 1 and playing solid defense at shortstop. “When we got him I spoke about his ability but that he was not a finished product,” said Cashman. “There were going to be growing pains, and we were forced to be patient. You hope your patience pays dividends. We are seeing that.” The Yankees picked up Gregorius in a three-team deal that sent Shane Greene to the Tigers.

Pitching Notes: Yankees, Nolasco, Twins, Teheran, Leake

The Yankees are still looking at the market for starters, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post, but “feel doubtful” of getting anything done on that front. New York feels comfortable with its internal options to fill in for the just-DL’ed Michael Pineda, he adds. That may be true, of course, but we had heard of interest in a rotation addition prior to Pineda’s injury, so it seems unwise to count New York out of the market until the final bell has sounded.

More pitching notes:

  • The Twins and Padres have had some trade discussions, and the concept of offloading the remaining two years of Ricky Nolasco‘s contract has been floated in those discussions, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. As Wolfson notes, Jeremy Nygaard of TwinsDaily.com first suggested the notion. Nolasco does have a three-team no-trade clause but it does not include San Diego, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press notes on Twitter.
  • The Twins are looking at set-up options that include Joaquin Benoit of the Padres and several Rays pitchers, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. Minnesota has long been said to be pursuing pen arms, and it would be surprising if the team doesn’t make an addition today. We’ve already heard of recent interest in Tampa Bay’s relief arms from the Astros.
  • Julio Teheran may have been available at one point, at a high price, but the Braves now seem more or less unwilling to move him, Heyman tweets. Atlanta just sent young starter Alex Wood to the Dodgers, of course, which could have impacted their willingness to part with another controllable arm (particularly since he’s scuffled this year).
  • The Giants believe they can hold onto the just-acquired Mike Leake beyond this year, Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com tweets. San Francisco has had no trouble reaching late-season extensions in recent years, or with re-signing its own free agents off the open market, so it certainly bears watching.

Yankees To Place Michael Pineda On DL With Forearm Injury

The Yankees will place right-hander Michael Pineda on the disabled list with a Grade 1 right forearm strain, according to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman (Twitter link). The timetable for his return remains unclear, though Sherman says the Yankees do expect Pineda to pitch again in 2015. The injury is the same as the one suffered by Andrew Miller earlier this year, Sherman adds. Miller missed about a month with his forearm strain, though the recovery process for a reliever and for a starting pitcher will probably vary, and Pineda may need more time to return to his previous per-start workload after sitting out.

An injury to Pineda further taxes a Yankees rotation that already contained some question marks. CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Ivan Nova and Nathan Eovaldi should continue to hold down spots, and the team has used right-hander Bryan Mitchell in the rotation this season as well. There figures to be a good deal of speculation surrounding top prospect Luis Severino as well, though despite a 2.45 ERA this season, he’s already just 14 innings shy of his career-high 113 1/3. Certainly he’ll be expected to exceed that number in 2015 — the question is just to what extent he’ll be able to surpass that mark.

The Yankees have already been linked to pitching upgrades in recent days, though top-of-the-market names such as Cole Hamels and David Price have come off the board. Remaining names range from expensive assets such as James Shields (three years, $64MM following this season) or short-term rentals such as Mike Leake, who is a free agent at season’s end. The Padres have some targets that fall in between those two extremes (Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner), and as Sherman speculates on Twitter, a run at Craig Kimbrel would allow New York to shift Adam Warren back into the rotation and create a dominant late-inning trio.

All of that is sheer speculation, of course, and it remains possible that the Pineda injury won’t do much to alter the Yankees’ course over the coming 24-plus hours. But it’s easy to imagine a scenario where the loss of Pineda, even for a brief time, combined with Toronto’s acquisitions of Troy Tulowitzki and David Price, will hasten GM Brian Cashman’s efforts to upgrade his roster via the trade market.

AL East Notes: Pineda, Ackley, Orioles, Rays

Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda is dealing with a right arm injury, as WFAN’s Mike Francesca first reported, although the injury’s severity remains unclear. Joel Sherman of the New York Post cites Yankees executives in saying that the issue is a strained muscle in Pineda’s forearm as opposed to anything in his elbow, and it’s not believed to be serious at this time (Twitter links). Nonetheless, Marly Rivera of ESPN tweets that Pineda won’t start tonight’s game for New York, as had previously been scheduled. While many will speculate that there’s an increased need to add pitching, there’s been no definitive report on Pineda requiring a lengthy absence from the rotation. (And while some have said otherwise, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News tweets that there’s no issue with Ivan Nova‘s arm at present.)

More on the Yankees and their division, which is still reeling from Toronto’s now-official addition of David Price

  • The Yankees recently reached out to the Mariners to express interest in Dustin Ackley, reports Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). The two sides discussed a scenario in which outfielders Ramon Flores and Ben Gamel would’ve gone to the Mariners, but Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik wanted more for Ackley, and talks have since cooled, per Feinsand. Ackley, the former No. 2 overall pick in the draft, is again struggling this season and has batted a mere .215/.270/.366. Many have speculated that Zduriencik is loath to undertake in any type of sale, as his job security could be tied to the Mariners’ finish this season. Nonetheless, it’s a bit surprising to hear him holding out for any sort of return on Ackley, though Flores and Gamel admittedly aren’t all that well-regarded. Flores ranked 27th on MLB.com’s midseason edition of the Yankees’ Top 30 prospects, while Gamel didn’t place.
  • The Orioles are continually being asked for the likes of Kevin Gausman, Jonathan Schoop, Mychal Givens and even Manny Machado in trades, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (via Twitter). Each of those players is considered a deal-breaker for Baltimore, he writes. The Orioles have been seeking upgrades to their corner outfield situation recently.
  • The Rays are indeed listening to offers on Nate Karns (as was reported earlier today), tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. However, Topkin feels that the likeliest trade candidate, if the Rays move someone at all, remains right-hander Kevin Jepsen. Topkin reported last week that the Rays may very well trade a relief pitcher prior to the trade deadline.

East Notes: Izturis, Marlins, Valdespin, Pineda

Prior to the start of Sunday’s game against the Rays, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons told reporters, including MLBTR’s Zach Links, that second baseman Maicer Izturis is progressing slowly from his strained groin injury.  “He was told [not to take part in] any activity for ten days, I would definitely think he’ll be out [for Opening Day],” Gibbons said. Izturis was in competition for the starting second base job, which is likely now down to one or more of Devon Travis, Ryan Goins, and Steve Tolleson, as MLB.com’s Gregor Chisolm writes. This year is an important one for the veteran Izturis, who at age 34 is entering the final guaranteed season of his contract with plenty to prove. (Toronto holds a $3MM option over him for next year.)

Here’s more from the east:

  • “Numerous teams” have been inquiring about Marlins pitching, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro tweets. We heard talk yesterday that lefties Brad Hand and Andrew McKirahan were drawing interest.
  • Infielder/outfielder Jordany Valdespin has come a long way since his oft-contentious stint with the Mets and has a legitimate chance to make the Marlins Opening Day roster, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. The 27-year-old, who says his attitude turned after being told by his mother it was time to “grow up,” split last year between the bigs and Triple-A with Miami.
  • Yankees starter Michael Pineda is drawing rave reviews this spring, as George A. King III of the New York Post writes. Of course, the big question with Pineda is shoulder health. He was effective last year despite working in the low 90s, but this spring is said to be pushing his fastball back toward the mid-90s level that he deployed as a breakout rookie.

Players Avoiding Arbitration: Friday

With the deadline to exchange arbitration figures set for noon CT, there figure to be a large number of agreements to avoid arb today, as there were yesterday. All arbitration agreements can be followed using MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker, and we’ll keep track of today’s smaller agreements in this post, with all projections coming courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz

  • Righty Henderson Alvarez agreed to a $4MM deal with the Marlins, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported earlier today on Twitter. Alvarez had been projected to earn $4.5MM after putting up a huge 187-inning, 2.65 ERA campaign entering his first season of arb eligibility.
  • The Athletics have agreed to a $1.4MM deal with righty Ryan Cook that includes, MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports on Twitter. Cook gets a slight increase over the $1.3MM he had been projected to earn. Oakland has also inked outfielder Sam Fuld to a $1.75MM deal, per Mike Perchik of WAPT (via Twitter). He too lands just above his projection, which was for $1.6MM.
  • Outfielder Collin Cowgill avoided arbitration with the Angels for $995K, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez tweets. He was projected to earn $900K.
  • Righties David Carpenter and Nathan Eovaldi both have deals with the Yankees, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports on Twitter. Carpenter will earn about $1.3MM while Eovaldi will take home $3.3MM
  • The Rockies have a deal in place with lefty Rex Brothers, tweets MLB.com’s Thomas Harding. Brothers was projected to earn $1.3MM but will take home $1.4MM, Harding adds via Twitter.
  • ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers reports that the Cubs have settled with both Travis Wood and Luis Valbuena (Twitter links). Wood will receive $5.686MM — a bit north of his $5.5MM projection, while Valbuena will earn $4.2MM, per Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald (on Twitter). Valbuena was projected to earn $3.1MM.
  • Mike Perchick of WAPT in New Jersey has a wave of arbitration agreements, starting with the Astros and Hank Conger settling on a $1.075MM, which is just $25K behind Swartz’s projection (Twitter link).
  • Also via Perchick, the Athletics and Brett Lawrie settled on a $1.925MM contract (Twitter links). Lawrie, who had been projected at $1.8MM, was acquired by Oakland in the Josh Donaldson blockbuster.
  • Rockies backstop Michael McKenry will earn $1.0876MM in 2015, via Perchick. McKenry was projected by Swartz to earn $1.5MM.
  • Michael Pineda and the Yankees settled on a $2.1MM salary for the upcoming season, Perchick tweets, which is a direct match with Swartz’s projection.
  • Domonic Brown and the Phillies settled on a one-year pact worth $2.6MM, via Perchick, which represents a difference of just $100K between Swartz’s projection and the actual figure. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com tweets that Ben Revere has avoided arbitration as well, and the club now announces that he’ll earn $4.1MM — $100K north of his $4MM projection.
  • Red Sox setup man Junichi Tazawa agreed to a $2.25MM payday, according to Perchick. Swartz had pegged him for a $2MM contract.


Injury Notes: Abreu, Gonzalez, Venters, Fielder, Yanks

Here’s the latest on the injury front:

  • The White Sox have placed Jose Abreu on the 15-day disabled list with posterior tibial tendinitis in his left ankle, reports MLB.com’s Scott Merkin. Abreu returned to Chicago today for an examination and was placed in a boot to immobilize the ankle and help facilitate the recovery process. He also will undergo further tests, such as another MRI, and further treatment for at least another day. The rookie sensation is paying early dividends on his six-year, $68MM contract, batting .260/.312/.595 with a MLB-leading 15 home runs and 42 RBIs in 189 plate appearances.
  • The Nationals placed Gio Gonzalez on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation, but the left-hander’s enhanced MRI exam revealed no further damage and confirmed he will only require rest, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
  • The BravesJonny Venters threw batting practice Wednesday and the session was cut short after he reported soreness in his left elbow, writes the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien. “It was just a little sore, so they shut him down and didn’t continue,” said manager Fredi Gonzalez. “They didn’t seem concerned, they made it sound like it was part of the process – first time he’s faced hitters and that kind of stuff.” Venters is just over a year removed from his second Tommy John surgery. 
  • The Rangers‘ injury woes continue with Prince Fielder undergoing a nerve-root injection for a herniated disc in his neck, reports Jay Jaffe of SI.com. Fielder, slashing only .247/.360/.360 with three home runs in 178 plate appearances, says his neck has bothered him since last season, but has worsened lately. Jaffe notes Fielder waited until last month to inform the Rangers of his injury, which has caused pain and stiffness in his neck and weakness in his left arm.
  • Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda is still on track for an early-June return after a successful bullpen session Friday, according to ESPNNewYork.com’s Wallace Matthews (h/t: Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues).
  • Yankees reliever Shawn Kelley could rejoin the team next Sunday, tweets Meredith Marakovits of the YES Network (h/t: Axisa). Kelley, nursing a back injury, will play catch Monday and Tuesday, throw a bullpen Wednesday, and make a minor league rehab appearance Friday.

Injury Notes: Profar, Figueroa, Pineda, Nova

Rangers second baseman Jurickson Profar has cleared a hurdle as he attempts to return from a torn muscle in his shoulder, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. He can now begin swinging a bat, and may be able to begin throwing within ten days. Profar is currently on the 60-day DL, and the Rangers have indicated he might return in early June. Profar’s return would provide a nice boost for the Rangers, who so far have gone with Josh Wilson and Donnie Murphy at second base — one key component of Texas’ big offseason move of trading Ian Kinsler for Prince Fielder and cash was opening a starting spot for Profar in what had been a crowded infield. Here are more quick notes on injuries.

  • The list of pitchers requiring Tommy John surgery continues to grow. Next up is Pedro Figueroa of the Rangers, who will have Tommy John on Wednesday, according to Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest (via Twitter). Last week, it was reported that doctors had diagnosed Figueroa with a torn ulnar collateral ligament. The Rangers claimed Figueroa from the Rays in February.
  • Speaking of injured pitchers, Yankees hurler Michael Pineda will have an MRI after leaving a simulated game with a sore lat muscle, Newsday’s David Lennon tweets. Pineda’s suspension for pine tar is due to end Monday, but the Yankees might be without him longer than that. If Pineda needs to miss additional time, David Phelps will continue to make starts in his place. (Pineda has a Grade 1 tear of his teres major, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch tweeted after this post was initially published. The teres major is a muscle in the back, near the shoulder. As Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan points out in a tweet, Pineda has had significant shoulder issues in the past. Pineda will reportedly miss three to four weeks.)
  • Meanwhile, another Yankees pitcher, Ivan Nova, had Tommy John surgery on Tuesday, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch writes. Nova’s elbow troubles will keep him out until 2015. Nova had an 8.27 ERA in 20 2/3 innings before being shut down.