This is among the messages we woke up to Friday:
To answer some questions: I think there is a better chance than not that Pineda is in rotation, but it is not certain yet.— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) March 30, 2012
When the Yankees traded for Michael Pineda, they figured he could be effective right away. He showed up to camp overweight and had yet to reach the velocity he reached in 2011. His spring training hadn't been a disaster, but it'd been questionable, and people were wondering if he might be ticketed for triple-A.
If Pineda began Friday with decent odds of breaking camp in the Yankees' rotation, those odds aren't so decent anymore. Friday night he started against the Phillies, and here's his last pitch:
The missed location, the body language, the result ... Pineda retired eight batters. He allowed seven hits, three walks, and six runs, while striking out two. His fastball reportedly topped out at 94, but mostly sat in the same 89-92 range it's been occupying all month. His changeup and slider were said to be okay, but Pineda works off of his fastball, and his fastball now isn't what it was.
Pineda's job is very much in jeopardy. For all I know right now, Friday might've been his last chance. A report from the ballpark:
Scout in stands thinks Pineda may be costing himself velocity because of his mechanics. Arm slot is off, he says.— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) March 30, 2012
The Yankees could choose to believe that Pineda will get things straightened out when the games are meaningful. They could believe that he's still working himself into game shape. But the Yankees could also decide that Pineda's a little messed up, and in need of some tweaking that isn't best done in the major leagues. There's less pressure in the minors, and more freedom to try things out without worrying so much about the score.
The Yankees didn't think they'd have an interesting decision to make with regard to Michael Pineda. They've got one. As noted before, if Pineda goes to the minors for a few weeks before coming back up, the Yankees will gain a year of team control. That's a plus. But the Yankees probably aren't thinking about 2017 Michael Pineda so much as they're thinking about 2012 Michael Pineda, because 2012 Michael Pineda doesn't look right.