MOOSIC – Derek Jeter’s rehab appearance attracted all the hoopla on Saturday night.
But there was another rehabbing Yankee who didn’t want to be forgotten about. Right-hander Michael Pineda made his fifth start as he attempts to reach the major leagues for the first time since 2011 when he pitched for Seattle.
Acquired from the Mariners before the 2012 season in the Jesus Montero deal, Pineda missed all of last season with shoulder issues, eventually needing surgery for a torn labrum. After a rough first inning, he rebounded to toss four scoreless frames, leading the RailRiders to a 4-2 victory over Lehigh Valley at PNC Field.
The IronPigs got to Pineda in the first inning for two runs, taking advantage of the 24-year-old’s command issues. After a leadoff infield single, Pineda got an out then allowed a walk, uncorked a wild pitch, got the second out and walked another to load the bases. That’s when Leandro Castro blooped a two-run double to put Lehigh Valley in front 2-0.
Pineda settled down a bit in the second, getting the first two batters on strikeouts. A few batters reached on an error and a single in the inning, but no runs were scored.
After the second, he only gave up one hit the rest of the way and faced just one batter over the minimum. In his five innings of work, he gave up just four hits, two runs, two walks and fanned seven to pick up the win.
The RailRider offense helped out Pineda, scoring a run in the second and three more in the third. Thomas Neal was the big bat for SWB in both frames. In the second, he drove in Dan Johnson with a double to trim Lehigh Valley’s lead to 2-1. Then in the third, he knocked in two on a single to give the RailRiders a 4-2 lead. Randy Ruiz added an RBI single in the third to tie the game 2-2. For the game, Neal ended 2-for-3 with three RBI.
The RailRiders bullpen worked four scoreless innings to preserve the win for Pineda and in Jeter’s first rehab game.
Yoshinori Tateyama pitched two scoreless frames, while Jim Miller and Mike Zagurski each went a scoreless inning. Zagurski picked up his second save against one of his former teams.