According to Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com, Pineda threw a bullpen session on Friday and reported no problems after 20 pitches:
Despite the threat of rain that washed away Friday's Yankees-Pirates game, there was some baseball activity at Yankee Stadium today. Michael Pineda, on the disabled list since May 6, threw a 20-pitch bullpen session and reported no pain in the strained back muscle he felt while throwing a simulated game during his suspension for using pine tar against the Boston Red Sox on April 23.
Until now, Pineda was only able to have a catch, so this session was the natural step up in the recovery process.
Matthews' report also notes that Pineda will likely be on the shelf until the first or second week of June with more bullpen sessions to be thrown and minor-league rehab starts to follow.
There is still plenty left to do before Pineda can return, however this is still a positive sign for the 25-year-old. The Yanks desperately need Pineda to get healthy and return to the mound since their starting rotation has been decimated by injuries and ineffectiveness.
Before his suspension for using pine tar and his DL stint, Pineda was having a stellar start to the season with a 2-2 record and a 1.83 ERA in four starts.
A long-term injury to Pineda would be absolutely devastating to New York. Aside from Masahiro Tanaka, Pineda has been by far the Yanks' second-best starter and his importance has skyrocketed after a month and a half into the season.
Pineda might have started off 2014 with less pressure as the team's No. 5 starter, but based on performance he has now become a key player in the Yanks' starting five and his success is vital to New York's playoff hopes.
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