New York Yankees manager, Joe Girardi said that injured starter Michael Pineda will return to game action early next week. Pineda is scheduled to pitch in an extended Spring Training game on Tuesday in Tampa. The big righty threw 28 pitches of live batting practice on Saturday at the Yankees Spring Training Complex.
Pineda has not pitched in a game since being suspended for 10 days for using pine tar in a game on April 23. The Yankees were trying to keep him sharp, when he injured his back in a simulated game during his suspension, that ultimately landed him on the DL. Although he has been sidelined, Yankee manager, Joe Girardi feels that he is making progress towards returning to the rotation. "As long as he has no setbacks, he'll be coming back pretty quick here," Girardi said.
Pineda came into the season recovering from right labrum surgery, which delayed his debut as a Yankee until this season. "We never set a limit on innings," Girardi said. "It was more of how he's doing physically and watching his stuff, but he's missed a substantial period of time here. You would think he'd probably be able to go out most of the year." The Yankees and Girardi feel that Pineda will be able to pitch through the season when he returns. Something they were not quite sure about when the season started. If Pineda comes back with no issues, this break may actually help the Yankees down the stretch run.
Girardi said that if Pineda pitches well on Tuesday, he could possibly go out on a Minor League rehab assignment as early as next weekend. "I think when you start to see him throw three and four innings and bouncing back, you know that he's getting fairly close," Girardi said. Pineda is scheduled to throw two innings in his return to game action on Tuesday.
Pineda would be a huge help to the beleaguered Yankees rotation. As eager as they are to get him back on the active roster, they are being very cautious not to rush him. Girardi said that Pineda would have to reach at least 75-80 pitches in a Minor League game before they would consider activating him.
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