The New York Yankees will have to wait at least a year before they can bolster their starting pitching rotation with Michael Pineda, who the team traded top prospect Jesus Montero for during the offseason.
ESPN reports that Pineda showed up to Yankees spring training 10 pounds over his usual playing weight and never reached the high velocity on his pitches that made him so dominant for the Seattle Mariners in his rookie season last year. The 23-year-old complained of shoulder discomfort throughout the spring, and was finally placed on the disabled list on March 30.
On Saturday, Pineda made his first rehab start, but as it turns out, he was far from ready to return to action. After just 15 pitches, he had to come out of the game with what was later determined to be a torn labrum. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that he thinks Pineda sustained the injury on the final pitch of his outing.
Rather than simply waiting longer for his shoulder to heal completely, Pineda attempted to get back on the mound too soon and suffered an injury that he may have been able to avoid with more time off.
Rushing young players back onto the field after an injury is unfortunately common. According to a survey conducted by Safe Kids Worldwide and Johnson & Johnson, almost half of all respondent coaches said that they feel pressure to put an injured child into a game, in addition a number of other startling statistics.
"The research findings are particularly alarming because experts tell us more than half of these injuries are preventable," Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, said in a statement.
Coaches need to be patient and responsible when handling an injured young player. While they should absolutely refrain from participating in games, ailing young athletes should avoid even simply swinging youth baseball bats, which could aggravate their injury.