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Pineda likely out until August

6/13/2014

SEATTLE -- The New York Yankees starting rotation, which currently boasts three rookies and 39-year-old Hiroki Kuroda, is likely to remain unchanged through the All-Star break -- and possibly beyond.

Manager Joe Girardi said Friday that right-hander Michael Pineda, who went on the disabled list on May 6 with a shoulder strain, is unlikely to even pick up a baseball for another week and, even after he does, will probably need close to a full spring training -- approximately six weeks -- before he is ready to return to action.

"I would think August is probably realistic," Girardi said before Friday's Yankees-Athletics game in Oakland.

And with CC Sabathia likely sidelined until the All-Star break, the Yankees rotation -- Kuroda, David Phelps (who lost the competition for the final rotation spot to Pineda) and rookies Masahiro Tanaka, Chase Whitley and Vidal Nuno -- is likely to remain unchanged at least until mid-July.

Sabathia, on the DL with right knee inflammation, has yet to throw a bullpen session.

"It's going to be tough to get him back before the All-Star game," Girardi said. "So until then, our rotation is our rotation."

Pineda originally injured himself while throwing a simulated game during a 10-day suspension for using pine tar on the ball on April 23. He was shut down for 10 days but experienced soreness again -- in the teres major muscle of his back, between his latissimus dorsi and his surgically-repaired right shoulder -- while throwing on May 31, and he was shut down for a second time.

"Usually, they talk about doubling [the period of inactivity] when there's a setback," Girardi said, suggesting Pineda would not be scheduled to even begin throwing again until approximately June 20. "Then, you have to build him up again. That's the problem."

Once Pineda begins throwing again, he would essentially be starting from scratch, which means he would have to go through a progression of bullpen sessions, simulated games and rehab starts before he is ready to pitch in the major leagues again. That process generally takes up to six weeks.

"It's disappointing. It really is," Girardi said before joking, "I don't think we'll have to limit his innings this season."

After winning the No. 5 starter's job on the basis of an outstanding spring training, Pineda got off to a quick start -- he was 2-2 with a 1.83 ERA at the time of his suspension -- and was expected to be an important part of the Yankees rotation this season.