As teams come out of the All Star Break and prepare for the second half of the season, the expectation is there will be excitement and a healthy squad coming off the break. But the Yankees received unfortunate news on Friday and later revealed starting pitcher Michael Pineda suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament and doctors have recommended Tommy John Surgery.
Pineda will explore second opinions to determine if he can avoid Tommy John Surgery, but the result seems inevitable. The 28-year-old seems headed for surgery, which would keep him out for the next 16-plus months, after he posted solid numbers this season. Pineda made 17 starts this year and for the most part, gave New York quality innings given half his starts came at one of the most hitter-friendly parks in baseball.
Across 96 1/3 innings pitched, Pineda posted a 4.39 ERA, 3.75 SIERA and struck out 22.4 percent of the batters he faced this season. More importantly, Pineda went six-plus innings in 10 of his 17 starts this season. Now, New York will be forced to turn to Luis Cessa for the time being to fill Pineda's spot in the rotation. The 25-year-old righty has mixed in work out of the bullpen and rotation in six appearances this year for New York.
New York could also look at prospect Chance Adams, who is dominating in the minors this season. The 22-year-old right posted a 1.03 ERA and 8.23 K/9 in six starts at Double-A to start the year. Since his promotion to Triple-A, Adams owns a 2.50 ERA, 3.29 FIP and 9.99 K/9 across 11 starts. The Yankees could also potentially explore the trade market for a starting pitcher.
While the blow is significant for the Yankees, Pineda's is even more unfortunate. Set to become a free agent at the end of the year, he will likely now just be at the early stages of a return from TJS when he hits the market. An earliest return would see him back late in the 2018 season, but he may not return to the mound in a major-league game until 2019.