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Pineda has strong outing, Yanks beat Tigers 3-2

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

By MARK DIDTLER

Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Yankees fifth starter candidate Michael Pineda struck out four and gave up one hit over two shutout innings in his first spring training start, New York's 3-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.

Pineda missed the last two seasons because of a right shoulder injury that required surgery. He pitched the fifth and sixth innings, ending his outing by striking out Miguel Cabrera.

The right-hander faced 10 batters in a simulated game Sunday, allowing two hits, striking out one and walking his final two hitters.

"Everything I've seen so far is positive," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "And I want it to continue to go that direction."

Former Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain struck out two, walked one and gave up a hit during a scoreless seventh in his first appearance at Steinbrenner Field since signing a $2.5 million, one-year contract with Detroit. He got a mixed reaction from the fans.

"It's another game," Chamberlain said. "It's one of those things where you've got to be able to slow it down a little bit. I didn't do a very good job of that today. I just had to treat it like another outing."

Chamberlain's career began amid plenty of fanfare, when he averaged over a strikeout an inning in 2007 and 2008 for the Yankees. The big question then was whether his long-term future was as a reliever or a starter. He made 31 starts in 2009 and finished with a 4.75 ERA. Then it was back to the bullpen, where he spent the last four seasons.

Yankees: Hiroki Kuroda went 2 2-3 scoreless innings, striking out five, walking one and giving up Cabrera's double.

Tigers: Anibal Sanchez allowed two runs and four hits, including a long two-run homer to Carlos Beltran, in three innings. He had five strikeouts.

Yankees ace CC Sabathia will start the March 16th game against Miami in Panama.

The teams are playing two games in the Legends Series, which is honoring longtime Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, the career saves leader who retired after last season.

"I heard about this and I wanted to go," Sabathia said. "It's exciting. It should be fun. It will be fun to see him."

Other Yankees scheduled to play include Derek Jeter, Beltran, Brian McCann, Brett Gardner, Alfonso Soriano, David Robertson and Adam Warren, who will pitch on March 15th.

Jeter had two singles and a walk in three plate appearances. He snapped an 0-for-10 slide with two consecutive hits in his last two at-bats Thursday.

Yankees: First baseman Mark Teixeira will play Saturday in his second game since June 15. Teixeira, who had surgery last July 2 to repair a torn tendon sheath in his right wrist, and went 0 for 3 in Thursday's game against a Philadelphia split-squad

Soriano played in his second game, and first in the outfield after being sidelined by the flu. He was hitless in three at-bats and is 0 for 6 with four strikeouts overall.

The Yankees may have Soriano occasionally play first in addition to DH and outfield.

Tigers: Justin Verlander will start Tuesday against a Toronto split-squad. The right-hander, who had surgery in January following a groin injury, threw to hitters in an indoor batting cage Thursday after the Tigers game against a Phillies split-squad was rained out.

Left-hander Casey Crosby (elbow) threw batting practice and is set to pitch Monday.

New Tigers closer Joe Nathan gave up an infield single during a scoreless sixth.

Looking to fill a void at the back of the bullpen, the Tigers agreed to a two-year contract with Nathan. The right-hander went 6-2 with 43 saves for Texas last season.

Robertson, replacing Rivera this season, worked a perfect fourth in his second scoreless outing.

The Tigers signed left-hander Wil Ledezma to a minor league contract.

Updated March 7, 2014

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