Does this explain Pineda's puzzling lack of velocity in his Grapefruit League outings?
"There was always that curiosity, why isn't it going up higher?" Girardi said. "Why isn't the velocity where it was last year? Is it the innings, is he just not ready to turn it loose, what is it? None of us are ever going to know. But right now he's shut down, and we'll get him back as soon as we can."
Is it possible that Pineda was hurting earlier in the spring and didn't inform team officials?
Girardi couldn't say one way or the other, but observed he understood why a youngster would be reluctant to ask out while vying for a spot in the rotation.
"That's the competitiveness and the desire to be in the big leagues ... Kids don't dream about playing in Triple-A," said Girardi.
Last season, Phil Hughes came down with shoulder tendinitis after going from 105 1/3 innings pitched in 2009 to 176 1/3 in 2010. Could Pineda be going through the same thing after jumping from 139 1/3 innings in 2010 to 171 last season?
"I think there's something to it. I think you have to be careful and protect players as they're maturing physically and they're making innings jumps," Girardi said. "Because a lot of times, it's the wear and tear over time that really gets you. It's probably similar to if you run a mile, a mile, a mile. And then you run a marathon. You're probably not going to feel the same as if you ran a mile. That's the bottom line. So you try to gradually increase, like you would with any activity."
Still, Girardi noted that it could have been any number of other things, including trying too hard to regain his velocity, a mechanical glitch that had him flying open too early, or the normal workload of Spring Training.
The bottom line, though, is that the news was about as good as it could have been under the circumstances.
"I'm very relieved, because the rest of the MRI came out good," Girardi said. "We'll be conservative and make sure when he goes back out, he feels good. That would be the smart thing to do."