Arguably the two most-injury-plagued Yankees will once again be sidelined for the foreseeable future, as right-hander Michael Pineda and first baseman Greg Bird will both undergo surgery on Tuesday. Pineda will have Tommy John surgery, while Bird will finally have his ankle operated on.
Pineda, obviously, will miss the remainder of this season and likely all of next season as well. The 28-year-old suffered a partially-torn UCL and a flexor tendon strain during his start on July 5, but didn’t feel any discomfort until a few days later. That’s when he underwent an MRI, confirming the worst-case scenario.
Pineda is in the final year of his contract and likely would have been one of the best starting pitchers on the free agent market. Now he’ll be a reclamation project, just like his former teammate Nathan Eovaldi, who underwent Tommy John surgery last summer and then signed a two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees tried to keep Eovaldi and will likely try to keep Pineda as well, as his flashes of brilliance are hard to forget:
As for Bird, after weeks of attempting to properly diagnose and treat his mysterious ankle injury, the 24-year-old was revealed to have Os Trigonum Syndrome, which tomorrow’s procedure will hopefully fix. He’s expected to miss just six weeks and should be able to resume baseball activities in September, but probably won’t make it back in time for the end of the season.
At the tail end of a remarkable spring training, Bird fouled a pitch off his ankle and was never the same. He hit an even .100 with just one home run in 19 games before being placed on the disabled list on May 2. The Yankees still consider him their first baseman of the future, so perhaps “Bird” will finally be the word in 2018.