Michael Pineda injury: Yankees RHP has successful 1st rehab start

The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

The young right-hander's shoulder problems may at last be behind him.

Michael Pineda's long and winding path to the mound at Yankee Stadium finally took a positive turn on Sunday. The right-hander took the hill in an official game for the first time since 2012 Spring Training, throwing 4⅓ innings of one-run ball for the Yankees' Advanced A club in Tampa, reports Chris Girandola of MLB.com.

Pineda, 24, allowed just two hits -- a bunt single and a weak flare -- while striking out four on the day. The right-hander was not very efficient in his pitching, needing 68 pitches to get 13 outs, but he did hit 94 miles per hour on the gun with regularity.

While 94 mph is still a little short of the velocity he maintained while pitching for the Mariners in 2010 and 2011, it's a huge improvement from where he was sitting during his six starts in spring camp for New York last season. The Yankees expect Pineda's velocity to pick back up over the course of his 30-day rehab stint, and hopefully return to its pre-surgery level of around 98 mph.

Acquired from Seattle in January 2012 for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi -- who are both having their fair share of problems with the M's -- Pineda has yet to make his Yankee debut because of a series of shoulder issues. Placed on the DL with tendinitis at the beginning last season, Pineda eventually needed surgery to repair a torn labrum and has been on the road to recovery ever since.

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