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Pineda to start for Yankees on Wednesday

Right-hander has missed nearly four months because of shoulder injury

Pineda to start for Yankees on Wednesday

BALTIMORE -- Michael Pineda will make his return to a big league mound on Wednesday, as the Yankees right-hander is scheduled to take the ball for a start against the Orioles at Camden Yards.

Esmil Rogers had been initially announced as the Yanks' probable starter for Wednesday, but the team decided to have Pineda forgo a third Minor League rehab start and make his start in the big leagues instead.

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"I'm very, very happy. I'm coming back to my team and to the rotation," Pineda said.

Pineda has not been seen in the Majors since April 23, when he was ejected in the second inning of a start against the Red Sox at Fenway Park after umpires found pine tar, an illegal substance, slathered on the side of his neck.

Major League Baseball hit Pineda with a 10-game suspension, which the hurler chose not to appeal. While serving the ban, Pineda strained the teres major muscle behind his pitching shoulder and was placed on the disabled list on May 6.

Pineda was 2-2 with a 1.83 ERA in four April starts and said that he has been able to put the pine tar incident behind him.

"I know I made a mistake, so I learned from that," Pineda said. "Everything is in the past right now. I want to continue my career and that's it. I'm focused on my game and I'm focused on pitching.

"I said sorry to my team and sorry to everybody, so now everything is in the past. I want to continue my career and I want to help my team right now."

In his second rehab start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday, Pineda fired 4 1/3 innings of one-run ball against Columbus.

He threw 72 pitches, scattering six hits while walking none and striking out seven, and showcased a fastball that sat between 92 and 94 mph, as well as a swing-and-miss slider.

"Everything is the same. Everything looks good," Pineda said. "I'm happy I'm feeling really good. I'm feeling powerful. I'm happy with that. Everything is good. I'm so excited."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that the team received positive reports about Pineda's fastball, slider and changeup, which were deemed to be big league-ready.

"You're never sure, when a guy's rehabbing, how the arm strength is going to be or how sharp they're going to be," Girardi said. "But he threw the ball well."

Rogers pitched well in a spot start on Friday, holding the Indians to a run over five innings, and Girardi said that he could use Rogers as a multi-inning reliever or as a long reliever.

Pineda said that he threw another five to seven pitches in the bullpen after his start for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, so the Yankees expect that he should be able to give them 85-90 pitches against Baltimore.

"It's nice," Girardi said. "This is a guy who threw very well before he went on the DL, and it'd be nice to have him back."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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