The New York Yankees are one of baseball’s hottest teams, but Masahiro Tanaka’s latest setback might have dulled the excitement.
At least Michael Pineda should give the Yankees a good chance to sweep the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday.
New York started Chase Whitley in Tuesday’s 4-2 victory to give Tanaka an extra day of rest. It seemed that injury concerns had subsided after he allowed just one run over 13 1-3 innings in his last two starts.
An MRI revealed tendinitis in his right wrist and mild strain in his forearm, however, and the Yankees will place him on the disabled list. There was no change to his partially torn elbow ligament, but general manager Brian Cashman said it’s likely to be at least a month before Tanaka is back in the rotation.
"We want to make sure this doesn’t lead to the more horrific problems that we’re all trying to avoid," Cashman said.
Though the injury will test the rotation’s depth, it looks to be in good hands Wednesday with Pineda (3-0, 3.86 ERA) on the mound. The Yankees have won each of the last six times he’s pitched with Pineda earning the victory in the last three. That includes a 5-3 win at Tampa Bay on April 19, when he allowed three runs in 5 2-3 innings. He is to 2-1 with a 3.23 ERA in five career matchups.
Pineda’s most impressive outing of the season may have been his last, though, as he limited the New York Mets to one run in 7 2-3 innings of a 6-1 victory on Friday, ending their winning streak at 11.
"He’s very smart out there," catcher Brian McCann told MLB’s official website. "He reads hitter well. He knows what he wants to do and can make adjustments on the fly, that’s why he’s as good as he is."
The right-hander is 4-1 with a 1.69 ERA in eight home starts as a Yankee and 9-3 with a 2.58 ERA in 13 career April starts.
New York (13-8) has won 10 of 12 overall and six straight over Tampa Bay.
McCann doubled twice and drove in three runs Tuesday and is batting .333 over his last nine games with eight RBIs.
Alex Rodriguez, one homer shy of tying Willie Mays for fourth all-time, is expected back in the lineup after getting a night off.
Tampa Bay (11-10) hopes Drew Smyly can build on his season debut after he had been limited by shoulder tendinitis. Smyly gave up two runs over 4 2-3 innings in Friday’s 12-3 win over Toronto. A pre-established pitch count was partially to blame for the left-hander being pulled after throwing 79 pitches and not getting the victory.
"Extremely unfortunate that his pitch count kind of got to the difficult decision-making zone, and that’s on me that we had to prioritize his health over his record at this point," manager Kevin Cash said. "I apologize to him, but that’s the plan we had in place and we wanted to stick to it."
Smyly is 1-0 with a 1.45 ERA in five appearances versus New York, giving up three runs over 13 innings in two starts. No current Yankee has more than one hit against him.