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Pineda may be nearing return to Yanks' rotation

Right-hander slated for rehab start on Friday with an increased pitch count

NEW YORK -- Michael Pineda is scheduled to make his next rehab start on Friday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and given the Yankees' pitching situation, it is possible that he could be hurried to the big leagues after that.

Pineda worked 3 1/3 scoreless innings for the RailRiders on Sunday, his first game action since being placed on the disabled list on May 6 with a right shoulder muscle injury.

The Yankees have not named their starter for Friday against the Indians, a turn that is up for grabs now that David Phelps is on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi confirmed that Pineda will not be a candidate for that start, as Pineda only tossed 58 pitches in his first rehab start against Syracuse.

David Huff, Esmil Rogers and Chase Whitley are among the candidates to make Friday's start, but Girardi said that he might not announce a starter until after Thursday's game, depending on what is needed out of the bullpen in the final two games of the series against the Tigers.

"We're just going to have to wait to see what happens these next couple of days," Girardi said.

Pineda is expected to raise his pitch count by 15 to 20 pitches on Friday against Columbus, which could set him up to start and give the Yankees about 90 pitches on Aug. 14 against the Orioles at Camden Yards.

"He's probably available to go somewhere between 75 and 80, then we'll see where we're at," Girardi said. "I said we wanted to get him to 90 [before activating him in the Majors], but with the circumstances that we're in, you never know."

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