Michael Pineda to get 2nd opinion

Updated: April 24, 2012, 8:04 PM ET
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was examined by team physicians after undergoing an MRI on his shoulder Tuesday in New York, but the team did not announce the results because the pitcher's agent requested he get a second opinion on Wednesday.

It was yet another turn in what has become the puzzling saga of the 23-year-old right-hander the Yankees acquired from Seattle in January in exchange for Jesus Montero, the most highly touted hitting prospect in their farm system.

"It's confusing, because he asked for the second opinion before we had the first," conceded manager Joe Girardi, who added he had not been given the results of the exam performed on Pineda on Tuesday by Yankees team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad. Pineda will be examined by Mets team doctor David Altchek in New York on Wednesday.

"I don't know if (Ahmad) will talk to Altchek first and they'll discuss what they see before they put something out; that way there's maybe not a conflicting report," Girardi said.

According to Girardi, the second opinion was requested by Fern Cuza, Pineda's agent, after Pineda was shut down on Saturday after feeling pain and weakness in the back of the right shoulder 15 pitches into an extended spring training game. It was the first time he had thrown to hitters since being placed on the 15-game disabled list on March 31.

"When they found out he was going to New York, his agent requested that whatever happens, we want a second opinion," Girardi said. "Whatever that means, we should know more as time goes on. I don't know why agents and players ask for second opinions. It's not something I ever did. Sometimes guys are just more comfortable with other doctors, but that's okay."

Cuza, who represents Yankees closer Mariano Rivera and represented Pedro Martinez during his time as a Met, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman declined to comment via text message until he receives the medical report on Wednesday.

Originally, the Yankees listed Pineda's injury as "right shoulder tendinitis." Now it is listed as "right rotator cuff tendinitis."

In any case, it is becoming obvious that Pineda, who the Yankees were counting on to hold down a regular spot in their rotation, is not close to returning to action after what Girardi termed a "significant" setback.

"We thought we were going to get a power pitcher that pitched very well and we believed had a very huge upside," Girardi said. "Right now, we don't have him and right now I can't tell you when we're going to get him back. That part is disappointing."

Pineda was 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA for the weak-hitting Mariners in his rookie season, but his effectiveness fell off markedly in the second half of the season, when his ERA rose and his velocity declined after the All-Star break.

The Yankees had attributed his second-half decline to fatigue due to his workload -- Pineda threw 171 innings in 2011 -- but after showing up for spring training some 20 pounds overweight, he continued to have problems with his velocity. He lasted just 2 2/3 innings in his final preseason game, having allowed six runs and seven hits to the Phillies on March 30.

An examination the next day revealed shoulder tendinitis but no structural damage, and Pineda's prescribed course of treatment was rest, until his abortive attempt to pitch over the weekend.

"Coming out of the game was disturbing to me on Saturday," Girardi said. "How long has it been since he threw in that game in spring training; 3½ weeks? You assume if he was to make it back, it would have to be more time than that, because that amount of time off didn't help. We'll find out what's going on (Wednesday), and hopefully it's good news."

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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