Yankees News and Notes: Where’s An Apple When You Need One?

March 20, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda (35) walks with pitching coach Larry Rothschild (58) to the dugout after he warmed up against the Pittsburgh Pirates at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Is the mystery of Michael Pineda's missing velocity solved? After surrendering six runs in 2 2/3 innings, the 23-year old right hander complained of right shoulder stiffness, which, needless to say, now has the Yankees very concerned. Should the team have been pro-active with how they handled Pineda in light of his reduced speed gun readings? If the MRI winds up revealing a serious injury, there will be plenty of time for recriminations, but in the meantime, you can bet the entire organization will be crossing its fingers. Regardless of the outcome, however, it seems as if the fifth slot in the rotation has been decided, at least for the time being.

Pineda wasn't the only casualty from last night's 13-9 victory over the Phillies. Following another scoreless inning of relief, Cesar Cabral was felled by soreness in his left elbow. The Rule V lefty will undergo an MRI and X-rays to determine the extent of the injury, but regardless of the severity, he is probably now out of the running for the final spot on the roster. Unfortunately for Cabral, his stellar spring performance had all but locked up the lefty specialist role, but now his future with the Yankees is in doubt.

Over the winter, Mark Teixeira talked about re-discovering his opposite field swing after becoming an extreme pull hitter over the last two seasons. According to spring results, the Yankees’ first baseman seems to be making progress toward that goal.

At 22-5, the Toronto Blue Jays have dominated the Grapefruit League, but does that have any bearing on the regular season? At the Captain’s Blog, I took a look at the relationship between exhibition records and regular season performance since 1984 and uncovered a couple of links that might make Blue Jays fans happy.

Reggie Jackson has another World Series ring to add to his collection. A federal judge in Nevada has ruled that Jackson’s estranged family members may not sell memorabilia given to his late father. Among the items the judge ordered returned to Mr. October were a replica 1977 World Series ring and a watch given to him in honor of his 400th homerun.

In a case of roster maneuvering, the Yankees released and then re-signed Russell Branyan. The lefty slugger, who has been hampered by a bad back all spring and has yet to play in a game, will join the team’s triple-A affiliate in an attempt to make it back to the Bronx.

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