- Last Updated: 9:16 AM, April 26, 2012
- Posted: 2:23 AM, April 26, 2012
They did the stiff upper lip thing yesterday because what else could the Yankees do.
Michael Pineda is their property now; their damaged property. So the Yankees protected the process that led to Pineda’s acquisition and projected the best possible outcome for his recovery from shoulder surgery. General manager Brian Cashman insisted Pineda was fully vetted with a physical before his trade from Seattle was concluded and that the injury that is going to cost him the whole season was the best possible kind, if you are going to have a major shoulder injury that is.
And even with that Brian Cashman said “this is not a good situation” and used the word “devastated” to describe his feelings.
The Yankees announced Pineda had an anterior labral tear and will have surgery Tuesday. Because his rotator cuff was intact — that was the good news — the Yankees think the surgery can be less invasive and the right-hander can return in 12 months. But that is hope, just like the Yankees hoped Pineda’s velocity sag this spring was nothing and hoped that the weakness they first reported in his shoulder was nothing more than weakness in his shoulder.
A betting man would not gamble that the Yankees ever get a high-end version of Pineda? And the short- and long-term ramifications of that are traumatic for the organization.
For the Yankees envisioned Pineda mastering a changeup this year to mix with his power stuff, galvanizing him as a top-of-the-rotation force by the time the 2012 stretch arrived.
And Pineda also was central to the Yankees’ vow to shrink their luxury tax payroll beneath $189 million for 2014 to benefit from the inducements for doing so within the new collective bargaining agreement. To do that, however, they need to develop inexpensive quality behind CC Sabathia in the rotation, especially if they are to have any hopes of getting under the threshold while retaining Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson.
The Yankees wanted to counter the expected attrition with pitching by having bountiful options, including Pineda, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, Manuel Banuelos and Dellin Betances. Aside from Nova, though, this has been a horror-show early season for this Yankees plan. Hughes has mostly been a mess. Banuelos pitched poorly and then ended up on the Triple-A DL (back), and Betances seems another version of Andrew Brackman — a big righty who cannot regulate his delivery as he had walked 17 in 17 1/3 innings this season.
But, obviously, all of this pales to Pineda, who cost the Yankees their best trade chip in Montero.
“The deal we did I would do that 10 times out of 10,” Cashman said by cell while en route to Trenton to see the Double-A start of Andy Pettitte, whose return is suddenly a lot more vital. “Pitchers are risky. I knew that going in, but trying to find quality pitching is difficult. So my regret is [Pineda] went down, my regret is that we did not get his production, but I will not regret how we went about our business.
“It’s an unfortunate circumstance,” he added. “I can’t run and hide from it. This was my decision. Whatever comes from that, comes from that. I know we were very detailed and thorough. We had a physical in this process with X-rays and an MRI [exam]. This guy was clean. This guy was healthy. This is something that happened on our watch.”
So for now, Pineda remains locked on zero wins as a Yankee, two fewer than Kei Igawa, nine fewer than Carl Pavano. Not exactly the class the Yankees dreamed he would be associated when they made short- and long-term plans upon obtaining him.Follow @NYPostsports