OAKLAND, Calif. -- The ever-changing rehab schedule of Michael Pineda took another turn today when Joe Girardi announced Pineda would pitch a simulated game in Tampa on Friday.
Originally, GM Brian Cashman told one reporter Pineda would start on Friday for the Double-A Trenton Thunder. Then he told another reporter Pineda would start for the Class A Charleston River Dogs.
New York Yankees
To confuse matters even further, Girardi today said Pineda would throw a simulated, rather than a real, game because the Class A Tampa Yankees were on the road and the organization decided not the send him on the trip "to better control the conditions."
All well and good, except for this: The Tampa Yankees are not on the road Friday, they are off.
What does it all mean? Who knows. But Girardi insisted that the change in plans, and the confusion surrounding them, have nothing to do with any issues involving Pineda's surgically-repaired shoulder.
“It has nothing to do with an injury," Girardi said. "If Tampa would have been at home, he would have pitched in that game. But they’re on the road. This way, we can control it. The other day he had one long inning and sometimes you worry about a guy that’s rehabbing. This way you can build him up easier, he doesn’t have to travel. Physically he’s fine. Tuesday he threw his bullpen and he’s ready to go."
Whatever. All we know for sure is this: Michael Pineda will throw a simulated game Friday in Tampa.
In other news:
• Girardi said he will not hesitate to use Lyle Overbay, whose misplay in Tuesday's 6-4 loss cost the Yankees a run, in right field again. However, he is not using him there tonight, even with another right-hander, Dan Straily, starting for Oakland. Instead, Vernon Wells is in the lineup playing left and Ichiro Suzuki will play right.
The reason, Girardi said, is that with Phil Hughes on the mound, there figures to be plenty of fly balls hit into the spacious Oakland Coliseum outfield.
"He'll make another start out there," Girardi said. “It’s something new for him, that’s the bottom line. There is a learning curve. We expect that he can make it pretty quickly. He’ll make the adjustments.''
• Girardi said he did not give CC Sabathia's disturbing Tuesday start, in which he allowed six earned runs and two long home runs, a second thought after the game.
"I think he's going to throw the ball good on Sunday [against the Angels]," he said. "That's my thought process. I've seen him do it too many times not to think that he's going to. We don't make too much of one game. A lot of other people can, but I'm not really afforded that luxury because we play 162. CC threw a couple of really good games. He had a good month of April. There's no reason he can't bounce back Sunday."
Girardi acknowledged, however, that having allowed 14 home runs in his first 14 starts -- he allowed a career-high 22 in 28 starts last year and just 17 in 33 starts in 2011 -- Sabathia could be on the way to surrendering his most-ever HRs this season.
"We're aware of it," Girardi said. "We understand the fastball velocity is not what it used to be, but my thought is, he can still really pitch at a high level. Will he give up more home runs this year than last year? Probably. It would be great if he didn't. It would mean he's pitching really well. But it's part of it. You have to deal with it, and you have to try to learn from it."
• Hughes has pitched well against the Athletics, with a 3-1 career record and 4.12 ERA in six career starts vs. Oakland. He has started twice at the Coliseum and is 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA. He pitched into the eighth inning in both of those starts.
• The Yankees have faced Straily just once, on May 5 in New York, where the right-hander got a no-decision in a 5-4 A's win. None of the Yankees has a sizable sample against Straily, who is 3-2 with a 4.67 ERA this year. Wells has faced him the most, with two hits in six career at-bats, one of them a home run.
• The Yankees have gone a season-high four games without hitting a home run -- the last Yankees HR was hit by Mark Teixeira in the third inning of Thursday's 6-1 win over the Mariners in Seattle -- and their record in such games this year is 8-15, which is one win better than they did in the same situation last season. Last year, the team that hit the most home runs in baseball was 7-24 in games in which they failed to homer.