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Yankees' Pineda set for key rehab start

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Aug 06 2014 11:53:42 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 07 2014 09:52:37 AM CDT
Michael Pineda, New York Yankees, April 2014

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

NEW YORK -

The New York Yankees need a starting pitcher for Friday's series opener with the Cleveland Indians. Among the possibilities are Chase Whitley and Esmil Rogers. Not among the choices is Michael Pineda.

Pineda will pitch Friday but it won't be in Yankee Stadium. Instead it will for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre against Columbus, and Pineda is expected to see his pitch count increased to 80.

Pineda threw 58 pitches Sunday when he struck out four in 3 1/3 scoreless innings. He faced 14 batters in that outing and then spent Wednesday afternoon doing a 25-pitch bullpen session.

The assumption is that Pineda will need three rehab starts that will stretch him out to about 90 pitches. That assumption was made before David Phelps landed on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation.

With the rotation in the state that it's in, Pineda could return Wednesday when the Yankees are in Baltimore. First he has to get through Friday without any incident.

"He's probably available to go somewhere between 75 and 80 (pitches), and then we see where we're at," manager Joe Girardi said. "I said we wanted to get him to 90, but with the circumstances that we're in, you never know."

In the meantime, the Yankees will wait for Pineda to return from the shoulder injury that spoiled a strong first few weeks of the season. He was 2-2 with a 1.83 ERA in four starts before getting suspended 10 games for pine tar usage on April 23. He then landed on the disabled list May 6.