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Pineda displeased with performance

Looking to step up with CC out, Yankees righty falters

NEW YORK -- When news circulated in the Yankees' clubhouse Monday that CC Sabathia would be relegated to the 15-day disabled list, several of the starting pitchers took the veteran's absence as a personal charge to step up their efforts.

The Yankees are in a pennant race, the importance of every series is amping up, and with each passing day, the American League East's top spot becomes more competitive between the Yanks and Blue Jays. Returning from the DL, Michael Pineda was one of those who said he understands the importance of his responsibilities. But after a 6-2 loss to the Astros in the series finale Wednesday, Pineda indicated he felt like he didn't do his part.

"I don't feel good right now because I want to win," he said. "The only thing is, keep my head up and continue working to be ready for my next start. The good thing is, I'm feeling good and I'll be back for pitching every five days. Just keep going."

Pineda was tagged for six hits and five earned runs in 4 1/3 innings. After landing on the disabled list on July 30 with a right flexor forearm muscle strain, he made two Minor League rehab starts, one in Double-A Trenton and the second in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Before Wednesday, his last start at the Major League level was July 24.

The Yanks need their right-handed hurler to return to his early-season form. The last time Pineda had pitched 4 1/3 innings or fewer was June 22, when he lasted just 3 1/3 against the Phillies.

Yet despite Pineda's outing against the Astros, Girardi seemed pleased with what he got.

"You know, I thought he did pretty good," Girardi said. "The [fifth] inning kind of got away from him and it cost us some runs, so, I thought he threw the ball pretty well."

Girardi had said before Wednesday's game that he planned to limit Pineda to between 80 and 85 pitches, but Pineda threw just 71 before the manager decided it was time for a change. He relinquished three consecutive hits and a walk before he was pulled.

"All in all," catcher Brian McCann said, "Coming back from what he came back from -- pleased."

Moving forward, though Sabathia's absence changes the makeup of the rotation, Pineda said his work between starts doesn't change.

"I want to do the same thing, the same times, my routine," he said. "I want to keep my routine, just working hard every day."

Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for
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