Michael Pineda, who hasn't pitched since April 23 after being suspended and suffering a back injury, is set to begin his rehab assignments soon and is still slated to return sometime in August, more likely towards the end of the month.
Ian Begley of ESPN.com reported Pineda is ready to throw a few sessions of live batting practice and if all goes well, he could be on to simulated or live games as the next step in the process:
Pineda, one of four Yankees’ starters penciled into the rotation at the beginning of the season who are injured, is expected to throw two sessions of live batting practice in the coming days. If all goes well, he will progress to throwing either simulated innings or innings against live hitters in rehab starts.
After it looked like he was close to returning a few times, Pineda suffered multiple setbacks and inflammation in the area of his injury that shut him down for longer. Only recently has Pineda been able to resume throwing and get started on what is starting to seem like a return that won't happen.
If Pineda fails to make it through his latest rehab, the 25-year-old would almost certainly be shut down for the season with very little time left to start all over again. It would be an extremely disappointing end to a season that looked so promising back in April when Pineda pitched to a 1.83 ERA to start the season.
His great beginning to 2014 didn't come without some controversy, as Pineda was caught with pine tar twice in two starts versus the Boston Red Sox, one of which he was caught by the world only and the other by the world and umpires.
After being busted by the umps, Pineda was dealt a suspension of 10 games and it was during that time when he first injured his back to create this cloud of mystery around the future of his season.
Pineda is just one of four Yankees pitchers who started off the season in the rotation and are now on the shelf. With CC Sabathia out for the season along with Ivan Nova, Masahiro Tanaka suffered a slight tear in his UCL and his status remains up in the air.
Who would have thought Pineda's status would be the least questionable at this point, although that has happened almost by default.
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