TAMPA, Fla. – Michael Pineda is set to return to the majors — as part of the New York Yankees’ rotation.
Manager Joe Girardi announced Tuesday that Pineda will be the No. 5 starter.
Pineda, who missed the past two seasons after right-shoulder surgery, beat out David Phelps, Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno.
“I feel so happy,” said Pineda, 25. “When I come to camp, I come here for working hard and pitching good games.”
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Pineda, an All-Star as a rookie with the Mariners in 2011, said there were times he was sad during his two years of not competing.
“It’s hard when you have an injury,” he said. “I love pitching, and I love the team. When I was sad, somebody would tell me, ‘Don’t worry, you’ll be OK. Just keep working hard every day. You’re coming back.’ ”
Pineda has given up three runs and struck out 16 over 15 innings in four exhibition games this year. He will make his first regular-season start for the Yankees on April 5 against Toronto.
“He threw extremely well,” Girardi said. “It was what we wanted to see from him. He improved each outing. At times, he was dominant.”
Hey, big spenders
Pitcher Zack Greinke and the Los Angeles Dodgers have knocked the Yankees off baseball’s payroll perch.
The Dodgers are ending the Yankees’ 15-year streak as the sport’s biggest spenders and as of Tuesday had a projected payroll of $235.3 million, according to a study of contracts by The Associated Press.
The Yankees were second at $203.8 million, and Philadelphia was third at $180.1 million. The Mariners are 18th at $92.1 million, according to AP.
Greinke leads all players at $28 million, including a prorated signing bonus.
“Money doesn’t mean you win,” Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. “Money just means you have a chance to get the best players.”
• Players and management hope to reach a new drug agreement by the end of the weekend that would increase initial penalties for muscle-building steroids and decrease suspensions for some positive tests caused by unintentional use, people familiar with the negotiations said.
The sides are discussing a 100-game ban for an initial violation and a seasonlong ban for a second, one source said.
For inadvertent use, the penalty for a first violation would be cut in half to 25 games.
• Grady Sizemore bolstered his bid to become Boston’s new starting center fielder, hitting a two-run homer as the Red Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 in an exhibition game in Port Charlotte, Fla.
Sizemore, a graduate of Cascade High School in Everett who was a three-time All-Star with Cleveland, signed a one-year, $750,000 contract with Boston during the offseason. The deal has numerous incentives. Despite not playing in the majors since September 2011 because of injuries, the 31-year-old Sizemore has had a solid spring, batting .303 in 33 at-bats and scoring five runs.
“I’m happy with how everything has gone … and didn’t expect to feel this good or comfortable so soon,” Sizemore said. “I’m happy with that aspect.”
• Tampa Bay released pitcher Erik Bedard, 35, days after the former Mariner lost out in a three-way competition for the Rays’ fifth-starter spot with Jake Odorizzi (who won the job) and Cesar Ramos.
Bedard had a 6.88 ERA in 17 innings this spring.
• Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish will miss his scheduled start in Monday’s season opener against Philadelphia because of neck stiffness.
Meanwhile, the Rangers sent 25-year-old Neftali Feliz — a former All-Star closer — to Class AAA Round Rock.
|Projected team 2014 payrolls:|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||$235.3|
|New York Yankees||$203.8|
|Los Angeles Angels||$155.7|
|Chicago White Sox||$91.2|
|New York Mets||$89.1|