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Yankees’ Pineda To Miss At Least 3-4 Weeks With Back Strain

Michael Pineda (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Michael Pineda (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) —  The news just keeps getting worse for a Yankees pitching staff that has the potential to be one of the best in baseball.

Right-handed starting pitcher Michael Pineda has a Grade 1 strain of an upper back muscle. He cut short a simulated game in Tampa, Fla., after experiencing tightness in his lat and an MRI revealed the injury.

Before learning the results of the test, manager Joe Girardi said Pineda’s first scheduled start (Monday) after a 10-game ban for having a foreign substance on his neck was in jeopardy.

The 2011 All-Star will be shut down for 10 days and is expected to miss at least three to four weeks. He has not yet been placed on the disabled list.

Pineda missed the past two seasons after having shoulder surgery. He was off to a fine start before being caught with pine tar on his neck on April 23 and banned 10 games.

In four starts for New York this season, Pineda is 2-2 with a 1.83 ERA in 19.2 innings. He’s struck out 15 and walked just three.

Another Bombers starting pitcher, Ivan Nova, had reconstructive elbow surgery on Tuesday. Dr. James Andrews performed the operation in Pensacola, Fla. The 27-year-old — who was 2-2 with an 8.27 ERA before being placed on the 60-day disabled list — will miss the remainder of the season.

Vidal Nuno has made two starts for New York with Nova on the shelf, and Phelps will step in for Pineda for the time being. Phelps, who has made nine relief appearances this season, will make his first start of the season on Wednesday against the Mariners.

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