Saturday notes: Pineda sees progress

Michael Pineda acknowledged that he turned around a couple of times to check his fastball velocity on the scoreboard at Champion Stadium on Saturday; it’s only natural that he was curious. But Pineda also said that he is conserving a little bit of his heat right now before emptying the tank during the regular season, something Joe Girardi encourages. As it was, Pineda was clocked as high as 94 mph with his fastball and mostly sat between 89-92 mph — numbers the Yankees are just fine with.

“It’s good. I feel good,” Pineda said. “My velocity is coming right now.”

Mark Teixeira has liked what he has seen so far from Pineda, who allowed a run on four hits in 2 2/3 innings today, walking three and striking out one. He complimented the 23-year-old’s poise and quick work on the mound.

“I really like guys that work fast, get the ball, get the sign and work,” Teixeira said. “I think he definitely had a great role model in Felix (Hernandez in Seattle), a guy that goes right after you.”

What went right: Pineda threw about eight changeups and got good results with them, with a slight jump in his velocity and continued improvement of his slider and change. Joe Girardi said it was “a step in the right direction.” Alex Rodriguez drove in two runs, including a RBI double, and Brett Gardner legged out a bunt single. Teixeira lined a ball to center field for a hit, something he’s working on. Gary Sanchez was 2-for-2, as were Jayson Nix and Jose Gil, the latter of whom is 4-for-5 (.800) this spring. The Yankees got scoreless relief from Cesar Cabral (1.1 IP), Brett Marshall (2 IP, 0.00 ERA this spring), Mike O’Connor (1 IP) and Dan Burawa (1 IP).

What went wrong: Ryan Pope coughed up two runs in the eighth, allowing two hits and two walks. Andruw Jones went 0-for-3 and is batting .077 this spring. Francisco Cervelli went hitless in three trips and is still looking for his first spring hit. Eduardo Nunez felt some pain in his right hand while taking batting practice in Tampa and will be shut down for another couple of days.

What they said: “We don’t need him to be a 30-win All-Star. We need him to be Michael Pineda. Whatever he’s comfortable doing on the mound … it’s not like he came in here to be the savior of our rotation. We have a pretty good rotation.” – Teixeira

What’s next: The Yankees will play two on Sunday. CC Sabathia, Mariano Rivera and the starting infield will take on the Phillies’ split-squad at Steinbrenner Field at 1:05 p.m. ET, while Phil Hughes and the starting outfield bus to Fort Myers for a 1:05 p.m. ET meeting with the Twins. Kyle Kendrick starts for Philadelphia, a game that you can see and hear on YES and WCBS 880 AM. Nick Blackburn starts for Minnesota.

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