With Pineda hurt, Yanks depth will be tested

The New York Yankees cannot put Michael Pineda on the DL until after his suspension ends on Monday night.

Make no mistake, this news is as dreary for the Yankees as the recent weather.

The initial report is that Pineda will be out at least three to four weeks because of his Grade 1 strain of the teres major muscle in his back.

What this means is that suddenly, an area that looked like a strength less than two weeks ago is now going to be seriously tested.

As of right now -- with Pineda joining Ivan Nova on the shelf -- the Yankees depth looks like this:

1. CC Sabathia: Sabathia is 3-3 with a 5.11 ERA after six starts. There are Yankee people who will tell you that Sabathia's peripheral stats (strikeouts, walks, adjusted ERA) were better than his actual numbers last year. They see the same thing this year. He is striking out 10 per nine innings, for example.

However, he is allowing too many hits. While no one seems to think he will be a dominant ace again, there are those who think he will be better than what we have seen. We'll see.

2. Hiroki Kuroda: On May 1, there are no big starts, but we still need to learn a little more about who Hiroki Kuroda is at 39. After arguably his worst start of his career his last time out, Kuroda displayed some humor when asked how he can make adjustments at his age.

"I don't know," Kuroda said. "This is the first time I've been 39,"

Kuroda will start on Thursday. Kuroda's been up and down his first five starts. Kuroda (2-2, 5.28) is giving up more hits and striking out fewer batters.

3. Masahiro Tanaka: The guy has been amazing. He is really the No. 1 right now.

4. Vidal Nuno: In five career starts, Nuno, 26, is 1-1 with a 2.39 ERA. Nuno is a precision guy who only made it to the majors after bumping his fastball from the mid-80s to the upper-80s. Still a junkballer, he has shown an ability to be pretty good. He has a chance to become a legit major league starter or fail trying.

5. David Phelps: Phelps has not shown he is a major league starter. Still, he may get an opportunity here after last season's subpar results.

With Pineda out for the short term and Nova for the long term, Phelps appears as if he will receive another look. He has yet to show he can go work his way through major league lineups a couple times, which is a requirement for starters.

6. Adam Warren: Warren has become a legit part of the bullpen. This might limit his opportunity as a starter. However, I would consider trying to lengthen him out to see if his four pitches can work in more than relief.

This would be a bit of a gamble because he is very effective out of the pen. I think there might be more there with Warren and the Yankees will never find out unless the provide him the opportunity.

7. Alfredo Aceves: The Yankees picked up Aceves in the spring after he has opted out of his minor league deal with the Orioles. Aceves has pitched well at Triple-A, pitching to a 1.98 ERA in two starts, one relief appearance, totaling up to 13 2/3 innings.

A scout said he is throwing 90-91 with his usual assortment of pitches. He is becoming a real option for the rotation if Phelps or Nuno falter or there is another injury.

8. Shane Greene: He is a guy the Yankees are high on. The 25-year-old righty also could warrant a shot if opportunity presents itself.

A guy like Brian Gordon -- who was up with the Yankees in 2011 -- could also be used at some point to help patch things together.

9. Manny Banuelos: Banuelos threw three scoreless innings and struck out four in three innings during his first start for Double-A Trenton on Tuesday.

Coming off Tommy John surgery, he still needs to show a lot before he is called up to start in the Show. Possible in '14? Maybe. Probable in '14? No.

But '15 could be Banuelos' time.

10. Trade for Cliff Lee: It is too early for the trade market unless you are acquiring someone struggling.