What's up with Michael Pineda?

April, 24, 2012
That's what everyone is wondering today after Joe Girardi announced he had no results from Pineda's MRI today in New york, because the pitcher and his agent, Fern Cuza, "had requested a second opinion.''

Nothing wrong with that, except that Cuza made the request on Saturday, before the Yankees had even gotten the first opinion from their team doctor, Chris Ahmad. It is just another strange turn in the puzzling saga of Pineda, who had been counted on to hold down a rotation spot for the Yankees but now may not pitch for a long time.

According to a source I spoke with, it is not unusual for players or their agents to request an exam with a doctor the player or agent knows and trusts, and apparently Cuza trusts Dr. David Altchek, the Mets team doctor, from the days when Pedro Martinez, another of his clients, played for the Mets.

But it does seem unusual for the request to be made before the results of the first exam have come back yet, raising the possibility that Pineda is hurt worse than the Yankees thought and shared that information with the agent and not the team.

It may be significant that over the past couple of days, the Yankees media notes have changed the designation of Pineda's injury from "right shoulder tendinitis'' to "right rotator cuff tendinitis.'' That could explain Pineda's lack of velocity in his last start for the Mariners last September, a problem that carried over into spring training, although I am told though another source that Pineda did not pick up a baseball all winter.

In any event, the full story won't come out until Wednesday afternoon at the earliest, if then. I wrote a news story with some more detail that will be on the website shortly.
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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