BOSTON — Michael Pineda’s career in pinstripes may be over.
The Yankees’ righthander has a partial tear of the UCL in his right elbow and may have to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery, GM Brian Cashman announced on Friday.
Pineda, who is in the final year of his contract and also has a flexor tendon strain, will get a second opinion.
“It was quite a shock for me,” Joe Girardi said. “It was pretty devastating.”
In the short-term, Bryan Mitchell will start for the Yankees in Game 1 of Sunday’s day-night doubleheader against the Red Sox. Luis Cessa will get a start during the Twins series in Minnesota.
Cashman would not rule out the possibility that top pitching prospect Chance Adams will be promoted to eventually take Pineda’s place in the rotation in the long-term. Adams is 6-3 with a 2.50 ERA in 11 starts at Triple-A Scranton. In 57.2 innings with the RailRiders, the 22-year-old righty has walked 22 and struck out 64.
“We still kind of feel that he has more work to do,” Girardi said, citing the need for Adams to work on his command and using his third pitch. “Could he be an option later on? Absolutely.”
Pineda gave up three homers in his final start before the All-Star break on July 5. It wasn’t until July 7, late in the team’s game that night, that he reported discomfort to Yankees trainer Steve Donohue. He then went for an MRI the following day, which brought on the bad news.
“This is a significant loss for our team,” Cashman said. “It creates a significant opportunity for others — like Bryan Mitchell or Luis Cessa — within our system. At the same time, I will still stay engaged with the entire marketplace, see if there’s anything that matches to our satisfaction.”
Pineda went 7-3 with a 3.39 ERA in his first 12 starts of the season. But he went 1-1 with a 7.30 ERA in his last five starts.
The 28-year-old righty came to the Yankees via a 2012 blockbuster trade that sent once highly regarded prospect Jesus Montero to Seattle. But Pineda’s promising career was marred by injury and inconsistency. It took him two years to recover from a significant shoulder injury. His stuff was electric, but his results were mind-boggling to team brass.
Jordan Montgomery started Friday and battled through four innings, allowing three runs on 96 pitches. Luis Severino will start Saturday. Masahiro Tanaka will start in Game 2 on Sunday. CC Sabathia will start in Minnesota. Girardi cited the necessity of keeping an eight-man bullpen and the need to give everyone requisite rest coming out of the All-Star break for his rotation schedule.
The Yankees were engaged on Jose Quintana before he was dealt from the White Sox to the Cubs on Thursday, but Cashman would not delve into specifics.
“I’m not going to tell you what the White Sox asked for from us, but what they received, you would assume that there are clubs that aren’t able to do that,” Cashman said. “The clubs that are — including ourselves — you can assume they asked for similar caliber players. They got the No. 1 and 2 prospects out of the Cubs’ system, some of which are recognized as the top 5 to 10 in the industry. You can make your own conclusions.”
Cashman said Pineda’s injury doesn’t change his direction as a “careful buyer” heading into the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. “I’ve been trying to add, not subtract,” he said.