BOSTON -- Michael Pineda may have thrown his final pitch in Yankees pinstripes. The right-hander is expected to miss the remainder of the season after being diagnosed with a flexor muscle strain and a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
The Yankees' recommendation is for Pineda to have Tommy John surgery, his second major procedure since joining the organization, having missed all of 2012 while rehabbing from a right shoulder tear. Eligible for free agency after this season, Pineda is seeking a second opinion from Reds team physician Dr. Timothy Kremchek.
"It's pretty devastating," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It was devastating for him. He understands what it's like to work back from a serious injury, and now he's got to do it again."
Pineda was 8-4 with a 4.39 ERA in 17 starts for the Yankees this season, with 92 strikeouts in 96 1/3 innings. Girardi said that Pineda had an MRI exam on July 8 after experiencing extended discomfort following his most recent start, a July 5 no-decision against the Blue Jays in which he served up three home runs in three-plus innings.
"We've lost somebody of importance to us in Michael Pineda," general manager Brian Cashman said. "I'm sorry that has happened. First and foremost for Michael, as he approaches free agency, [he was] obviously interested in having a big year. We've been interested in benefiting from his performance in helping us win and compete on an everyday basis. This is a significant loss for our team."
In response, the Yankees shuffled their rotation for this weekend's series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, sending Jordan Montgomery to the hill for Friday's series opener. Luis Severino will pitch Saturday, with Bryan Mitchell and Masahiro Tanaka slated to work in Sunday's doubleheader.
Carsten Sabathia and Luis Cessa are scheduled to pitch in the following series against the Twins, according to Girardi, who indicated that the team is not ready to promote right-hander Chance Adams -- the Yankees' No. 7 prospect, as rated by MLBPipeline.com.
"We still feel that he has more work to do," Girardi said. "Could he be an option later on? Absolutely."
Pineda's injury makes it even more likely that the club will try to acquire a starting pitcher in advance of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
"We will be careful buyers," Cashman said. "We have certainly interest in improving the club, but it depends on the price tags."
Pineda was acquired with right-hander Jose Campos from the Mariners on Jan. 23, 2012, in exchange for catcher Jesus Montero and right-hander Hector Noesi. That deal largely tilted in New York's favor despite Pineda's injuries and inconsistency; he was 31-31 with a 4.16 ERA in 89 starts as a Yankee.
"I thought if he hit the ceiling he'd reach, he'd have the capability of potentially a No. 2, maybe a No. 1," Cashman said. "We had him as a No. 2 starter ceiling, in terms of that. But he's absolutely a quality No. 3 starter. We always thought that there was more there, and there still is, despite the injury that he's got."