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Clinical Notes: Michael Pineda's Injured Shoulder
Reggie Yinger | Saturday March 31st, 2012
Michael Pineda is headed to the DL with shoulder tendinitis. (US Presswire)
Michael Pineda is headed to the DL with shoulder tendinitis. (US Presswire)

The 2012 season has already had a handful of early injuries to notable major league players, and one more was added to that list this weekend, now that New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda is headed to the 15-day disabled list.

Pineda, 23, was diagnosed with tendinitis in his right shoulder and will begin the season on the DL. The hard-throwing righthander was acquired by the Yankees during the off-season in the deal that sent prospect Jesus Montero and pitcher Hector Noesi to the Seattle Mariners. 

While with the M's in 2011, Pineda posted a 9-10 record, 3.74 ERA, and 9.1 strikeouts per 9 innings (K/9)

Much of the talk in Yankees camp this spring has revolved around Pineda's body weight and his lowered pitch velocity. In six spring starts this season, Pineda struck out 18 hitters in 19 innings pitched. However, his starts were under a microscope because his velocity was only sitting between 91 and 92 Mph. According to Brooks Baseball, Pineda's velocity in 2011 was on average closer to 96 Mph. When the velocity was low during his first start, it was shrugged off, but after numerous starts with lowered velocity, Pineda's health and mechanics were a concern.

After an outing against the Philadelphia Phillies, that only lasted 2 2/3 innings, Pineda was removed from the game after allowing six earned runs on seven hits. It was later revealed that Pineda was suffering from shoulder soreness and would be sent for an MRI. The shoulder soreness could be the reason for the decreased velocity due to his change in his mechanics.

Considering that shoulder injuries can be serious things, it appears that the Yankees dodged a bullet regarding the news on Pineda (at least for now). The MRI confirmed that there is no structural damage, and while there's no timetable for a return, it's likely safe to assume that the Yankees will take their time with Pineda, and he could miss most of the month of April.

For the Yankees, the Pineda injury helps them identify their starting rotation to start the season. The Yankees set the rotation as the following: CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, and Freddy Garcia.

From a fantasy standpoint, Pineda owners have to be breathing a sigh of relief. Given all of the possible outcomes that there could have been (no injury, but a demotion to Triple-A or a long term injury that requires surgery) - owners will likely be without Pineda for a just brief period of time.

Fortunately, with many drafts just completing and the regular season just a few days old, there are plenty of options via the waiver wire. Here are some starting pitcher and their Yahoo! owned percenages.

 - Henderson Alvarez, Toronto Blue Jays (14% owned)
 - Matt Harrison, Texas Rangers (28% owned)
 - Jhoulys Chacin, Colorado Rockies (66%) (might be there)
 - Erik Bedard, Pittsburgh Pirates (40%)
 - Edinson Volquez, San Diego Padres (47%)
Reggie YingerReggie is a writer and the co-founder of Baseball Press. He enjoys fantasy baseball and hates when players bunt in baseball.