Michael Pineda heads to the IL with knee tendinitis

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SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - MAY 16: Michael Pineda #35 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning during their game at T-Mobile Park on May 16, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - MAY 16: Michael Pineda #35 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning during their game at T-Mobile Park on May 16, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Twins pitcher Michael Pineda’s comeback year has been solid, but it has hit a snag as the righty will head to the injured list.

One of the most impressive aspects of the Minnesota Twins’ fast start has been their ability to avoid the injured list. While Nelson Cruz and Mitch Garver have fallen victim to the injury bug in the early months of the season, the Twins have been able to stay relatively healthy on the way to building a 10-game lead in the American League Central.

The good health of the Twins hit a snag on Tuesday morning, however, as the team announced that pitcher Michael Pineda will head to the injury list with right knee tendinitis. As the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Betsy Hefland pointed out, the knee is the same knee that Pineda suffered a torn meniscus in late in the 2018 season.

The injury is disappointing for Pineda as he continues to make his way back from Tommy John surgery late in 2017. After sitting out most of last season before a failed attempt to make his debut last fall, Pineda has been solid going 4-3 with a 5.34 ERA in 11 starts. The move also comes as a surprise after he allowed three runs in six innings in Monday’s 5-4 loss to the MIlwaukee Brewers.

To replace Pineda on the roster, the Twins have called up Devin Smeltzer, who will make his major league debut against the Brewers tonight. The 23-year old was acquired in last year’s Brian Dozier trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers and has put together a strong year going 3-2 with a 1.15 ERA between Double-A Pensacola and Triple-A Rochester.

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