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Pineda wins job as Yanks' fifth starter

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 25, 2014 at 6:39 pm •  Published: March 25, 2014

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Michael Pineda is set to return to the majors — as part of the New York Yankees' rotation.

Manager Joe Girardi announced Tuesday that Pineda will be the team's fifth starter.

Pineda, who missed the past two seasons after right shoulder surgery, beat out David Phelps, Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno.

"I feel so happy," Pineda said. "When I come to camp, I come here for working hard and pitching good games."

Pineda admitted that were times he was sad during his two years on the disabled list. He'd been an All-Star as a rookie in 2011, then spent his time trying to work back toward the big leagues.

"It's hard when you have an injury," Pineda said. "I love pitching, and I love the team. When I was sad, somebody would tell me, 'Don't worry, you'll be OK. Just keep working hard every day. You're coming back.'"

The 25-year-old righty has given up three runs and struck out 16 over 15 innings in four games. He'll make his first regular season start April 5 against Toronto.

"He threw extremely well," Girardi said. "It was what we wanted to see from him. He improved each outing. At times, he was dominant."

Phelps and Warren are both expected to work out of the bullpen. Nuno also remains in the mix for a relief spot.

Girardi said Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka will his major league debut April 4 at Toronto. CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova are to start the opening series at Houston next week.

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