TAMPA, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Michael Pineda had his second straight positive outing in his bid to become the Yankees’ fifth starter, striking out five over 2 2-3 shutout innings as a New York split squad beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-0 Thursday.
Pineda, who missed the past two seasons after right shoulder surgery, has nine strikeouts in 4 2-3 scoreless innings overall. He allowed three hits and a walk against the Orioles.
“The best thing is, my shoulder is feeling great,” Pineda said. “When my shoulder is feeling good, I can pitch, I can compete. I’m happy with that.”
The 25-year-old right-hander is competing with David Phelps, Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno for the final rotation spot behind CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Masahiro Tanaka and Ivan Nova.
“He’s taking steps in the right direction, and I want to see him continue to take steps in the right direction,” manager Joe Girardi said of Pineda. “But he would be important for us, I can tell you that.”
Girardi doubted Pineda could pitch 200 innings this season, which could work against him. But Pineda also has no experience coming out of the bullpen, which could actually help the his case.
“He’s the manager,” Pineda said. “Whatever decision they make with me, I’ll be happy, because they want to take care of me. I want to do my job. That’s my focus, be ready every five days.”
Brett Gardner had an RBI double off Bud Norris, who gave up three runs and four hits in 1 2-3 innings. He struck out two and walked two during a 60-pitch outing.
“I felt good,” Norris said. “That was the number one thing. I didn’t feel that I was that wild, but I threw competitiive pitches that were pretty close. Had a good plan. I just felt like I was close to the corners, but just not quite getting them.”
Norris had given up three hits over five scoreless innings over his first two appearances.
A Yankees’ split squad will be in Panama for three days, including games Saturday and Sunday against Miami.
Career saves leader Mariano Rivera is being honored during what is billed as the Legends Series.
“I joked with him about playing an inning in center field, but it hasn’t got too far,” Girardi said.
Derek Jeter and Sabathia are among those making the trip.
“I think we know what the Yankees mean to Mo, and I think we know what his country means,” Girardi said. “To be able to combine the two I think it’s really special.”
Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Mak Teixeira are among the players not making the trip to Panama for weekend games against the Miami Marlins. McCann had been scheduled for the games in Central America but is being replaced by Francisco Cervelli.
Tanaka is feeling better about his adjustment to pitching every fifth day.
“Gradually, I think I’m getting used to it,” Tanaka said through an interpreter. “But it’s actually hard to say because at this point the number of pitches that I’m throwing is very limited. I’ll get a better idea with a lot more pitches and then see how I feel.”
Tanaka was wearing a pair of batting gloves for weightlifting when he was asked whether he is a good hitter.
“No, no,” he replied in English.
Hockey Hall of Famer Scotty Bowman was the guest of Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner at the game.
Bowman won an NHL-best nine Stanley Cups as a coach and has 13 overall. His last two championships came in 2010 and 2013 in his current role as senior adviser for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Jeter was hitless in four at-bats and is 4 for 24 (.167) in nine games.
“Timing is messed up,” Girardi said. “We’ve seen him pull some balls, and that’s kind of unusual. Older guys, you don’t worry so much about.”
Jeter, limited to 17 games last year after breaking his ankle in the 2012 playoffs, nearly made a great defensive play on an infield single, fielding a grounder up the middle and then making a leaping spin throw to first.
Yankees: Right-hander Jose Campos was optioned to Class A Tampa.
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