Hagerstown deals with pair of pitching injuries

t563_main_logo (1)It has been a worrisome couple of days at low-Class A Hagerstown, as two straight starting pitchers had to leave games with injuries.

The news is already positive on right-hander Ivan Pineyro, who was hit in his glove-hand thumb by a line drive in the first inning Tuesday night. X-rays taken late that night were negative for any fractures. Meanwhile, the status of left-hander Brett Mooneyham, the Nationals‘ third-round pick last June out of Stanford, is uncertain after he left a start Wednesday afternoon in which he threw 4 1/3 hitless innings.

Pineyro, a 21-year-old from the Dominican Republic, had worked hard to come back from taking a line drive to his jaw in extended spring training in 2012. He missed six weeks before reporting to the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, but he continued his long-toss regimen. Then Pineyro pitched his way up to short-season Auburn, where he made eight starts.

So Tuesday night’s scare was especially concerning to Pineyro and those who had seen him recover.

“It being a bruise or a contusion is very encouraging,” said Suns Manager Tripp Keister, who also managed Pineyro in the GCL. “I was there when he was hit in the face last year; I saw that one, too. He really battled back. To find out the X-rays were negative, that was good. His spirits were much better after he found out it wasn’t broken. On the field when he touched it, he was wincing a lot. I would’ve thought it was going to be broken. Thank goodness it wasn’t.”

Keister said the two line drives were flukes and that the 6-foot-1, 198-pound Pineyro fields his position well. In the two batters before Lakewood’s Brian Pointer’s single knocked Pineyro out of the game, the pitcher had an assist and a putout.

“He’s a good athlete, and he’s got good stuff, too,” Keister said. “A lot of guys don’t take good swings off him.”

Pineyro, who still might go on the seven-day disabled list, has 10 strikeouts and two walks in 8 2/3 innings but is 0-1 with an 8.31 ERA.

Mooneyham, 23, is 1-0 and second in the South Atlantic League with a 0.63 ERA in 14 1/3 innings. He has walked nine, struck out six and held hitters to a .089 batting average. At 6 feet 5, repeating his mechanics isn’t easy, but he was two outs away from having a chance at his second win when he asked for a trainer to come to the mound Wednesday.

Mooneyham “had some discomfort in his arm,” Nationals farm director Doug Harris wrote in a text message Wednesday. “We will be assessing the situation over the next few days.”

Harris called it “premature to speculate on specifics.”

– One player Keister is excited to have on his roster is 19-year-old Dominican catcher Pedro Severino, the youngest player on the Suns. Severino is hitting .143 in 21 at-bats, but he makes contact (two strikeouts and no walks), has been successful on his one stolen-base attempt and showed Tuesday night how he can shut down the running game. With winning pitcher Brian Dupra holding runners well, Severino caught both runners who tried to steal and picked off Phillies shortstop prospect Roman Quinn, one of the fastest runners in the minor leagues.

“He comes to the park and he’s eager,” Keister said. “Every day, he gets better.”

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