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Pineda 'dialed in' as he faces Yanks hitters

TAMPA -- Right-hander Michael Pineda threw his first live batting-practice session of the spring Sunday morning, said he's feeling "great" and that he's just trying to get ready to pitch in games.

Catcher John Ryan Murphy said Pineda, competing for the final spot in the Yankees' rotation, had "really good" command Sunday but added, "I don't think he's where he thinks he should be yet, but overall, he was pretty good."

Murphy also said Pineda has been focusing a lot more on his changeup, a third pitch to complement his fastball and breaking ball, and it looked "pretty good" against Ramon Flores and Jose Pirela.

"I thought the last five to seven pitches he got dialed in, which to me is a good sign," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who watched Pineda throw. "The first time you face a hitter in four or five months, you don't expect guys to be as sharp as they're going to be. But he got better as he went along, which is a great sign to me."

It appeared Pineda was working a little faster than usual, particularly when compared to his rehab starts in 2013, and Murphy noted that Pineda may have been a little jumpy. Murphy said pitching coach Larry Rothschild mentioned it as well and guessed it was a product of Pineda being excited to face hitters for the first time.

Still, Murphy said, even now you can see Pineda's front-line ability every time he throws a pitch.

"He's got the electric stuff. He's got a chance to be a high-end guy," Murphy said. "You can see his potential every pitch."

Adam Berry is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.
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