Pineda strong in 1st start; Severino rebounds

Right-handers impress during Yankees' loss to the Astros

Pineda strong in 1st start; Severino rebounds

TAMPA, Fla. -- Michael Pineda turned in a strong first spring start and Luis Severino turned in the type of outing he was looking for during the Yankees' 1-0 loss to the Astros on Monday.

Pineda pitched two scoreless innings, allowing a pair of singles and striking out three. Of his 28 pitches, 21 were for strikes. Severino, the prized young right-hander, struck out three, allowed two hits and hit a batter in three scoreless innings. He threw 49 pitches, 34 for strikes.

"Everything was good today," Pineda said. "I've been coming here, doing my job and being as strong as I can."

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Last season, Pineda missed most of August due to a right flexor forearm muscle strain. As a whole in 2015, Pineda pitched 160 2/3 innings, going 12-10 with a 4.37 ERA in 27 starts. He led the team with 156 strikeouts, and his 7.43 strikeout-to-walk ratio was tops in the American League.

Pineda has impressed the Yankees thus far in Spring Training. Armed with some of the best stuff on the team, including a mid-90s fastball and hard-breaking slider, it appeared Pineda was also in good physical shape during conditioning drills. He was consistently finishing among the top in races up the club's new grass running hill, dubbed "Mount Krause."

"I feel strong, my body's in good shape," Pineda said. "Every year, I'm working harder and harder. I learn from every year. ... Pitching the whole year is very important for me so I can pitch a lot of innings, winning games and helping my team. That's what I'm looking for."

For Severino, Monday's outing was a welcome one after the 22-year-old struggled against the Tigers last week. Though he pitched a perfect frame to begin that start against Detroit, Severino surrendered five runs, including a grand slam. At the time, manager Joe Girardi chalked it up to first-game jitters. Severino liked Monday's outing much more.

"We worked in the bullpens and I was staying back a little bit," Severino said. "The first inning, I was too quick to the plate. Then I was understanding more, thinking more. ... My first outing wasn't good, but this time was much better."

Severino is expected to be a key part of the Yankees' rotation this season. He came up big for New York down the stretch last year after being called up in August, going 5-3 in 11 starts with a 2.89 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 62 1/3 innings.

Greg Zeck is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.