I'm going to go ahead and rip the band-aid right off. You've seen the headline. Michael Pineda has been on the disabled list for the Yankees, and he recently had an MRI on his right shoulder, which has led to the following:
pineda has a torn labrum. surgery tuesday— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) April 25, 2012
When people noticed Michael Pineda's reduced velocity in spring training, this is what they were afraid of.
When people noticed Michael Pineda's continued reduced velocity in spring training, this is what they were afraid of.
When people heard Michael Pineda experienced a setback during a minor-league rehab assignment, this is what they were afraid of.
At any point, it could've been nothing. It's all very much something. Pineda doesn't have inflammation, and he doesn't need Tommy John surgery, and he doesn't need to get his rotator cuff repaired - he needs to get his shoulder labrum repaired, and this is about as bad as it gets for a pitcher. There are degrees of labrum tearing, of course, and smaller tears are better than bigger tears, but a tear is a tear, and this is one procedure from which full recovery is not guaranteed. This isn't Tommy John surgery. The Yankees can't simply count on having Pineda back and available and good next May or June.
There are success stories. Chris Carpenter had labrum surgery a long time ago and he turned into Chris Carpenter. One figures the outlook is getting better all the time, but the only way this news could've been worse for Pineda and the Yankees is if Pineda had injuries to his labrum and something else. Or a damaged brain stem, but I don't think that was ever a possibility.
Michael Pineda underwent a full examination when he was traded to the Yankees from the Mariners, which he passed. Either that examination missed something, or in the time since, he's developed a torn labrum. He's going to be out for a long time. One simply hopes that someday he can get back to being Michael Pineda.