MONDAY: The Yankees announced that Dr. Kremchek confirmed the diagnosis and will perform Tommy John surgery on Pineda tomorrow.
SATURDAY: Pineda will see Dr. Timothy Kremchek in Cincinnati for a second opinion on Monday, and he could undergo Tommy John surgery Tuesday, tweets FanRag’s Jon Heyman.
FRIDAY: Yankees GM Brian Cashman announced devastating injury news to reporters today, revealing that Michael Pineda has been diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow (Twitter link via the YES Network’s Jack Curry). He’s seeking a second opinion, but Tommy John surgery has already been recommended.
Suffice it to say, the timing of Pineda’s injury could hardly be worse for the Yankees or for the player himself. Already rumored to be on the lookout for rotation help, the Yankees will now be without a right-hander that was one of their most productive starters for the season’s first two months. Pineda, however, has logged a 6.14 ERA over his past seven starts. It’s not clear exactly when the discomfort in his elbow began, but Curry tweets that he didn’t mention it to the team until a couple of days after his most recent start. The 28-year-old was just two and a half months from reaching free agency at a relatively young age for a pitcher.
Even with that poor stretch, Pineda’s season ERA sits at a respectable 4.39, and he’s averaged 8.6 K/9 against just 2.0 BB/9 through 96 1/3 innings thus far in 2017. However, he’ll obviously miss the remainder of the season if he undergoes Tommy John surgery (as well as most of next year) and would still likely miss most of the remaining season if he undergoes an alternative treatment such as a stem cell procedure or platelet-rich plasma injection.
The best starter that was available on the trade market has already gone to the Cubs, as Jose Quintana was dealt in a surprising cross-city swap just yesterday. Sonny Gray is known to be available, and other options such as Gerrit Cole and Julio Teheran have been mentioned, though asking prices there figure to be extremely high. Rental options include names like Jaime Garcia, Trevor Cahill, Derek Holland and Jeremy Hellickson, though it’s possible that the Yankees simply stick with internal options as well. Cashman told reporters that top prospect Chance Adams “could be” an option in the rotation (via Curry), though for the time being they’ll call on Bryan Mitchell in Pineda’s spot and turn to Luis Cessa for their upcoming doubleheader.