When the Yankees walked into Yankee Stadium Tuesday night, they knew Michael Pineda had some pain in his right lat muscle that required the right-hander to pull himself after the first inning of a simulated game.
Later they learned an MRI revealed a Grade 1 strain of the teres major muscle, which is between the lat and the shoulder. Pineda will be placed on the disabled list when his 10-game suspension for pine tar use ends Tuesday and he will likely miss three to four weeks at minimum.
“He’s down,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He’s frustrated. But the good part of it is, if you’re going to have an injury as a pitcher, a lot of times it’s your elbow or your shoulder. It’s really neither. This will heal and he’ll get back out there.”
Pineda said he felt it throwing a pitch Tuesday and when the pain persisted after two more pitches, he decided to be safe.
Pineda has made four starts and pitched 19 2/3 innings for the Yankees since being acquired in a four-player deal with the Mariners that has yet to work out for either side.
The Yankees sent Hector Noesi and prized catching Jesus Montero to Seattle in the trade.
Noesi is currently with the White Sox after going 2-14 with a 6.13 ERA in 36 appearances with the Mariners. Before joining the Mariners, he was 2-2 with a 4.47 ERA in 30 appearances for the Yankees in 2011.
Montero has batted .252 with 18 home runs and 71 RBIs in 164 games for Seattle. Those numbers are decent for a full season but last year he batted .208 in 29 games before being sent down and getting suspended for 50 games in the Biogenesis scandal. He reported to camp overweight this year and began the season in the minors.
Besides losing Pineda for two years due to shoulder issues, the Yankees also received Jose Campos in the deal. Though the right-hander pitched decently in 31 appearances in the South Atlantic league, he is out for the season following Tommy John surgery.
If there is a positive for Pineda, the month on the DL will help with whatever innings limit the Yankees are planning. Pineda pitched 171 innings for Seattle three years ago and never pitched more than 140 in the Mariners’ system.
“That’s another thing,” Girardi said. “It’s not the way we wanted to do it but it’s another way we can do it.”
Teixeira encouraged by recent swings
Mark Teixeira is 39 at-bats into a return from a surgically repaired right wrist and though the average of .231 remains low, the fact he has home runs in consecutive games seems to be encouraging.
Teixeira returned from the disabled list following a right hamstring strain and is 6-for-27 while increasing his on-base percentage from .308 to .375.
On Tuesday, Teixeira homered in his first at-bat driving a 1-1 pitch from Chris Young into right field. That came after he sent a 2-2 pitch from Garrett Richards, whose hard throwing style is different than Young’s.
“I think he’s feeling more comfortable as he’s getting at-bats,” Girardi said Tuesday. “I thought if you look at the season, it got interrupted when he went on the DL for two weeks. He’s swinging the bat well, he’s being patient and he’s walking. He’s doing the things that he needs to do, that we’re used to seeing from Mark. I do think he probably feels more comfortable up there.”
Teixeira is a career .238 hitter in the first month of the season, so it’s not surprising his average is in the .230s.
“Still a long way to go; still haven’t played that many games,” Teixeira said. “I’d like to get better obviously, but the last couple of days I’ve put some good swings on balls, and it’s good to see the ball getting out of the park and driving it. It’s a good sign.”
Seattle’s New York connection
A year ago the Mariners had a notable connection to New York baseball with Raul Ibanez, Jason Bay, Oliver Perez and Jesus Montero on their roster.
This year, all four are no longer with the Mariners. Ibanez and Perez signed elsewhere, while Bay retired and Montero is in the minors.
However, they did add two ex-Mets by signing catcher John Buck and right-hander Chris Young. Young faced the Yankees Tuesday and wound up with his first win since September 2012 when he pitched for the Mets.
Young didn’t have any opportunities for wins last year. A shoulder injury that eventually required surgery limited him to nine minor league appearances at various levels of the Washington system.
“It’s a game where we are judged on our results, but wins and losses are so far beyond a pitcher’s control,” Young said after the win Tuesday. “I’ve learned not to get caught up in the emotion of wins and losses. You pitch great and you lose. You pitch poorly and you win. I’m just happy the team won.”
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.