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Pineda could begin rehab assignment soon

Yankees righty scheduled for another bullpen session

CLEVELAND -- The Yankees set a conservative timetable for Michael Pineda by shooting for a September return to the big leagues, but there appears to be a chance that the right-hander could make it back sooner than that.

Pineda threw a 25-pitch bullpen session on Monday, tossing fastballs and changeups, and is scheduled to mix in his slider during Thursday's session in Cleveland. If that goes well, the Yankees could deem Pineda ready for a Minor League rehab assignment.

"So far, everything has went according to plan," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "You just have to see as you pick it up. You keep your fingers crossed that he feels good after that and you can get him on a rehab."

Pineda has been on the disabled list since July 30 with a right flexor forearm muscle strain, which the Yankees likened to an injury that kept left-hander Andrew Miller out for a month. General manager Brian Cashman has said not to expect Pineda back until September.

"I don't have control for that, but as soon as I'm ready, and Joe makes the decision, I'll go to the mound," Pineda said.

Though Pineda would need to build his stamina back up for starting assignments, Girardi did not rule out the idea that Pineda could make an accelerated return to the big leagues.

"I think you have to see how he feels after the first [rehab start] is really what you have to look at," Girardi said. "If he feels good, then you make a decision."

Pineda, who is 9-7 with a 3.97 ERA in 19 starts, expressed hope that his rehab assignment would not take long.

"I only stopped for seven days, so hopefully [I'll] come back soon," he said.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.
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