How does yesterday rank with the worst days in Yankee history?
Well, yesterday the Yankees learned that, realistically for all intents and purposes, their hopes for the 2012 World Series were over. They also got a pretty good idea that the rest of this decade doesn’t look too good either.
Mark Feinsand said it best, I think, in this morning’s Daily News: “The tear in Michael Pineda’s shoulder might be the only thing keeping Phil Hughes in the rotation.” But after yet another miserable performance last night by Hughes – 2 1/3 innings, 4 earned runs, and a 7.88 ERA for the season – it doesn’t look like anything is going to keep Hughes in the rotation, or maybe even in a Yankees uniform much longer.
Just a couple of short years ago he looked like the successor to
Roger Clemens. Now he doesn’t even appear to be the successor to the
2010 Phil Hughes.
The real disaster, though, is Michael Pineda. Elbow problems are one
thing, often dealt with relatively easily. Shoulder problems – like
Pineda’s torn labrum — are something else altogether. Pineda was
supposed to be the Yankees’ stallion, the equalizer in big games against
other teams’ aces. Now we’re wondering if he’ll even be pitching next
In the ugly aftermath, a couple of questions linger. First, the one
everyone’s asking: “Did the Mariners know anything. about Pineda’s
injury, or did they even have reason to suspect there was going to be a
problem?” The almost certain answer, I think, is no.
First of all, Brian Cashman and the Yankees had complete access to
all his medical records before he was acquired; they also have,
possibly, the most sophisticated sports medicine team in baseball. It’s
highly unlikely that if there was a problem they wouldn’t have found it
in advance (in fact, Pineda’s MRIs were clean as late as last week
before the rehab game in which he injured the shoulder).
Second, a team can get in a great deal of trouble trying to peddle damaged goods, and that’s trouble the Mariners don’t need.
Third and perhaps most serious: if the Mariners had knowledge of any
kind of physical problem and did not disclose it to Pineda himself, as
well as his agent, they could be subject to a devastating lawsuit.
I don’t think Pineda was damaged goods when he arrived. I think both
he and the Yankees have just had a very, very bad piece of luck.