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MRI reveals no structural damage in Pineda's shoulder, Yankees relieved

By Scott Miller | Senior Baseball Columnist
TAMPA -- Already much further away from his rookie-season success with the Mariners than he ever dreamed of being, Michael Pineda sat at his locker at 8:40 a.m. today, ice bag already affixed to his aching right shoulder, awaiting an MRI exam that would show no structural damage.

The big Yankees right-hander complained of soreness in the back of his shoulder during his Grapefruit League appearance against the Phillies on Friday night. The MRI revealed no structural damage, leaving the Yankees relieved but still wondering about Pineda.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters in Kissimmee, Fla., where the Yankees played the Astros on Saturday, that Pineda will open the season on the 15-day disabled list and that the club will take a very conservative approach to his health.

Manager Joe Girardi said he was "very relieved because the rest of the MRI came out good. You always worry about rotators and labrums and that kind of thing. The rest of his shoulder looked really good. He just had a little tendinitis."

Pineda talked softly and appeared very down before having the MRI. It was hard not to feel for the kid who was part of one of the biggest deals of the winter.

What the Yankees have seen so far this spring is nowhere close to the same Pineda who went 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA in 28 starts for the Mariners last season. Then, his fastball sizzled at up to 97, 98 m.p.h. This spring, he hasn't been able to crank it up past 91, 92.

He's got a 5.68 ERA in 19 spring innings, with 18 strikeouts and 10 walks.

He's never before had problems with his shoulder, he said.

But as he awaited the MRI, he said that the current feeling in his shoulder is "different" than anything he's felt before, too.

The Yankees have CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda set for the top two spots in their rotation. With Pineda's bad spring and now questionable shoulder, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia seem set for the final three spots.
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