While Michael Pineda still has some work to do, the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is there for both the hurler and the Yankees.
Pineda gave up two hits and struck out four over six innings as Trenton blanked Erie, 4-0, on Tuesday.
Making his first Double-A start since June 18, 2010 when he was with West Tenn, Pineda threw 78 pitches, 53 for strikes. He walked two and faced five over the minimum while earning his first win of the year.
"First time I've seen him pitch in person and he looked good, he looked healthy," pitching coach Tommy Phelps said. "Good velocity, pitched down in the zone and secondary pitches looked good too. He had a good feel for it. Looked strong even at the end there, after the walk he came back and made some good pitches. Real quick tempo, attacked the hitters, it was nice."
Phelps said the 24-year-old right-hander's fastball hit the mid-90's on the radar gun and was "coming out of his hand clean and consistent."
Pineda has not pitched in the Major Leagues since Sept. 21, 2011 for the Seattle Mariners. After coming over to the Yankees on Jan. 13, 2012 in a trade for Jesus Montero, Pineda suffered a anterior labral tear in his pitching shoulder and underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair the shoulder on May 1 that year.
The 6-foot-7 hurler made two starts earlier this month for Class A Advanced Tampa, giving up three runs -- one earned -- over 8 1/3 innings for the Yankees.
"Today, I'm feeling stronger and I had good location in the game," Pineda said in a postgame press conference. "Right now, I'm feeling very good and my mechanics are better."
There is no timetable for when Pineda might pitch in New York, though the hurler is anxious to do so.
"I don't know, I don't have control over the situation," he said. "I want to be ready for when the Yankees need me. I'm very excited to pitch in Yankee Stadium. I've never pitched there before."
Francisco Rondon gave up a hit and fanned five over the final three innings to earn his first save for Trenton.
Andrew Clark, who signed with the Yankees on June 20, homered twice, and Tyler Austin, the Yankees' No. 3 prospect, drove in a run for the Thunder.