The Twins placed right-hander Michael Pineda on the 10-day injured list due to a mild left oblique strain. Right-hander Ralph Garza Jr. was called up from Triple-A to take Pineda’s spot on the active roster.
The injury developed during Pineda’s start against the Rays last night, as Pineda allowed four runs over 2 2/3 innings before leaving the game after a visit on the mound from the team trainer. Speaking with reporters (including Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press) today, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said the injury isn’t expected to be serious enough to prevent Pineda from returning to the mound before the season is through.
That’s good news in both the short term and the longer term for Pineda, who can use his remaining starts to further bolster his free agent case for the offseason. The subject of several rumors leading up to the July 30 trade deadline, Pineda ended up staying in Minnesota, which counted as a surprise considering his rental player status and the fact that as of July 26, the Twins had yet to engage the righty’s representatives in negotiations about a contract extension.
It’s been a mixed bag for Pineda in 2021, making him an interesting entry for teams to evaluate on the open market this winter. Pineda has a solid 4.13/4.24 ERA over 85 innings, and he has continued his career-long ability to limit free passes by delivering another excellent (4.8%) walk rate. However, Pineda has also allowed a lot of hard contact and his 20.6% strikeout rate is well below the league average.
Durability is also still a question mark, as Pineda has now made three trips to the injured list this season. (He had a 10-day absence in May after undergoing a procedure to have an abscess removed from his thigh, and he also missed three weeks due to elbow inflammation.) Pineda has missed two full seasons of his pro career due to a shoulder surgery and a Tommy John surgery, and he also missed 60 games spanning the 2019-20 seasons due to a PED suspension. Heading into his age 33 season, Pineda has tossed 354 innings since the start of the 2017 campaign.