Rocked Pineda: 'My arm is a little sore'

Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda winds up in

Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda winds up in the third inning against the Philadelphia Phillies in Tampa, Fla. (March 30, 2012) (Credit: AP)

TAMPA, Fla. -- It was the kind of thing that sets off alarms in an organization, and it did so with the Yankees Friday night.

After failing to last three innings against the Phillies, 23-year-old Michael Pineda said, "My arm is a little sore.''

Asked to identify the area troubling him, the righthander pointed behind his right shoulder.

Pineda, who allowed six runs, seven hits and three walks in 22/3 innings in the Yankees' 13-9 win and hit 93 mph with his fastball only twice, according to one scout, will be sent for an MRI Saturday morning.

"I have concern,'' general manager Brian Cashman said. "Any time a pitcher talks about his shoulder, there's concern.''

Pineda said he informed the Yankees of the soreness after he was pulled from the game and that it cropped up toward the end of the outing. He said it was not an issue previously.

Pineda's velocity has been a topic throughout spring training -- he's consistently been in the range of 90 to 92 mph after averaging about 94 mph much of 2011 -- and the Yankees hoped to see him crank it up. He said, "I tried to throw harder today.''

Pineda was competing for one of the final spots in the rotation, and the fifth starter's job appeared to be down to him and Freddy Garcia. Joe Girardi said Pineda might not have said anything sooner because he was trying to impress. "That sometimes can be the danger of when you have competitions,'' Girardi said. "That maybe someone doesn't say something and there's something bothering them a little bit. But I'm concerned. We'll know more [Saturday], obviously.''

Asked if it might explain the velocity issue, he said, "It could.''

Cashman and Girardi said they've continuously checked with Pineda as spring training has progressed. "We've asked the question because of the velocity, how do you feel physically?'' Cashman said. "And the answer's always been 'good.' But the only thing that's been a red flag has been the velocity.''

The story line of Pineda's missing velocity brings to mind Phil Hughes in 2011. He was diagnosed with right shoulder inflammation in mid-April.

Pineda, like Hughes a year ago, came into camp overweight, a concern to some in the organization. Several have theorized that Pineda's missing velocity -- he was consistently at 95 to 97 mph the first half of last season -- could be chalked up to being out of shape, much as was the case with Hughes.

After the kind of rigorous offseason training Pineda didn't go through, Hughes came into camp a different pitcher in 2012. Pineda has been different as well -- at least different from the pitcher who went 8-6 with a 3.03 ERA the first half of last year.

"I think I'm the same Michael Pineda,'' the downcast pitcher said Friday. But clearly not the pitcher the Yankees thought they were getting when they gave up Jesus Montero.

"Hopefully we'll get good news [Saturday],'' Girardi said.

The same goes for Cesar Cabral. A couple of hours after Pineda disclosed his soreness, Cabral, who had a good chance of making the team as the second lefty out of the bullpen, walked into the clubhouse in a sling. He complained of elbow pain and will have an MRI and an X-ray Saturday.

"This,'' Cashman said, "has been a really bad day.''

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