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Pineda pain-free after first rehab start

TRENTON, N.J. -- Michael Pineda took the first step toward a return to the big leagues after throwing 42 pitches in a rehab start for Double-A Trenton on Sunday.

Pineda, who has not pitched for the Yankees since being placed on the disabled list on July 30 with a right flexor forearm muscle strain, allowed two earned runs on four hits to Reading over three innings.

"I don't feel any pain," said Pineda. "I am happy that I feel pretty good today in my first rehab assignment. I had good command today and the ball was moving pretty good today."

Pineda showcased impeccable command of the strike zone, throwing 30 of his 42 offerings for strikes. The right-hander's fastball velocity sat between 91-93 mph and hit as high as 94 on the stadium radar gun.

"I threw mostly fastballs today. Right now, I feel most confident in my fastball," said Pineda. "I need to work on my slider and my changeup."

Pineda cruised early on; he needed just 25 pitches to navigate through the first two innings. In his final frame, though, the 26-year old ran into some trouble after allowing back-to-back two-out triples to Nick Williams and J.P. Crawford.

"I felt pretty good there in the third," Pineda said. "They got a couple of base hits, but everything is good."

In 19 starts this season, Pineda has compiled a 9-7 record with a 3.97 ERA over 118 innings.

"I want to get back as soon as I can," Pineda said. "I threw [about] 45 pitches today, so maybe I need one more start. I feel good right now, but I know that I am a starting pitcher and I need to build up my pitches to go back up there."

Matt Kardos is a contributor to
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