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MLB Injuries

Michael Pineda (torn UCL) likely out for season, Tommy John looming

Photographer: Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire

New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, according to general manager Brian Cashman. For his first opinion, Pineda was recommended to undergo Tommy John surgery, and he will see a second doctor for confirmation in the coming days.

“Depending on the severity of the tear, Pineda may be able to avoid Tommy John surgery, using PRP injections and conservative care to return in eight to 12 weeks,”. Dr. Selene Parekh, an orthopedic surgeon at Duke University, said. “If his elbow is either unstable or very painful, though, Pineda will need Tommy John and may miss all of 2018 as well.”

The latter option seems more likely, because doctors rarely disagree with one another when it comes to Tommy John surgery. The injury comes at a pivotal time for both the Yankees and fantasy owners, especially with the Yankees slipping before the All-Star break and Pineda’s reputation as a quality starter.

Although he is owned in more than 81 percent of all ESPN fantasy leagues, Pineda has been struggling recently, coinciding with the Yankees’ tailspin out of first place in the American League East. The right-hander has mixed in some quality starts recently, but lasted just three innings as he was tagged for nine hits and five runs against the Toronto Blue Jays, something that has been happening all too often for Pineda.

Pineda leads the Yankees in wins, as he boasts an 8-4 record with 92 strikeouts and a 4.39 earned run average in 96.1 innings. The front-end starter’s injury adds more to what was already a glaring need for New York heading into the July 31st trade deadlines with the Yankees in store for a top starting pitcher as they gear up for a playoff run.

Keep in mind that fellow starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka was able to avoid surgery with a similar injury using the conservative treatment approach, so New York’s trainers are no strangers to that option. In the meantime, the Yankees may opt for Luis Cessa or Triple-A pitcher Chance Adams if they opt to call someone up. Regardless of how they choose to replace Pineda, keep a watchful eye on New York as July 31st approaches.

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