Despite his high-90s fastball and ability to pick up strikeouts in bunches, Michael Pineda's spot in the Yankees' rotation wasn't always a given. Not after a rough start to the season, general manager Brian Cashman said Monday.
"He put an exclamation point [on his turnaround],'" Cashman said.
Pineda (3-7, 5.51 ERA) enters Thursday's series finale against the Rangers having compiled a 1-1 record with a 3.00 ERA and 37 strikeouts over his five June starts. He starts opposite Texas right-hander A.J. Griffin (3-0, 3.08 ERA), who is making his second start since coming off the disabled list.
Griffin's first outing back ended after 4 1/3 innings. He threw 91 pitches against the Red Sox, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk. He struck out six.
"I was starting to get a little tired and having long innings was a part of it," Griffin said. "If you throw over 20 pitches an inning, you start to get tired. I was throwing good quality pitches just off the plate. That's an adjustment I'll be able to make."
Pineda threw 94 pitches before getting pulled his last time out. He pitched six innings of one-run ball in that start last Saturday before ceding the spotlight to the Yankees' bullpen trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman.
Three things to know about this game
• Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Carlos Beltran probably won't be in the lineup Thursday. Beltran, who is hitting .297 with 19 home runs, felt tightness in his right hamstring early in the team's 7-1 loss to the Rangers on Tuesday. The right fielder didn't play Wednesday.
• The Rangers have won 10 consecutive day games, which is a franchise record. In addition, they are 15-7 (.682) during the day, the best winning percentage in the Major Leagues.
• In limited experience against Pineda, Mitch Moreland has had tremendous success. He's 4-for-9 with two homers, three RBIs and a walk.