Michael Pineda continues to make case for No. 5 starter

Michael Pineda
Michael Pineda has been tremendous this spring.
Credit: Getty Images

Michael Pineda gave up his first runs of spring training Sunday, but he continued to look sharp in his quest to return to his form from two years ago — and win the Yankees’ No. 5 spot in the rotation.

Pineda gave up two earned runs in six innings, struck out two and allowed no walks in a 3-1 loss to Toronto.

The 25-year-old, who hasn’t pitched since late 2011 with Seattle, had pitched nine scoreless innings with 14 strikeouts and one walk prior to Sunday.

But the Yankees are still very impressed with what they’ve seen from the former rookie sensation. Manager Joe Girardi said on Sunday he would name his fifth starter on Tuesday.

David Phelps, the other top contender for the final spot in the rotation, has put together a strong spring as well, but the team has not considered going with a six-man rotation. Phelps, 27, has allowed six runs in 19 2/3 innings (2.75 ERA) with 14 strikeouts. He made 12 starts in 2013.

CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova — who will throw in a minor-league game on Monday — are all assured spots in the rotation.

Girardi also said on Sunday that Jacoby Ellsbury (calf) will continue to take batting practice, with a possibility he plays on Tuesday.


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