Pineda’s return: A refresher on his 1st 4 Yankee starts

Michael Pineda’s re-entry into the Yankees’ rotation tonight against the Orioles couldn’t have come soon enough. Already this season, the Yanks — who were rained out yesterday in Baltimore — have sent 12 different starting pitchers, including Pineda, to the hill as a result of myriad injuries and subsequent roster moves.

Pineda’s first start since late April should bring a bit more stability to the pitching staff. Moreover, the big righty mostly looked brilliant during his first four starts in pinstripes (2-2, 1.83 ERA, 15:3 SO/BB ratio). For those who forgot what the 25-year-old can bring to the table, here’s a reminder of how each of his 2014 appearances went.

April 5

In his long-awaited Yankee debut after being acquired in a trade with the Mariners back in 2012, Pineda did not disappoint. He held the Blue Jays to just five hits and one earned run over six innings, striking out five and issuing no free passes. Although R.A. Dickey and the Toronto bullpen shut out the Yanks’ offense, 4-0, Pineda did his part north of the border.

April 10

From a statistical point of view, Start No. 2 was a rousing success against the Red Sox. Pineda struck out seven as he pitched into the seventh inning and again allowed just one earned run — a Daniel Nava home run — on four hits and two walks. However, a dark substance Pineda referred to at the time as “dirt” observed on his palm overshadowed his performance and his team’s 4-1 victory at Yankee Stadium.

April 16

In the nightcap of a doubleheader against the visiting Cubs, Pineda held Chicago scoreless through six innings and gave up just four hits and walked one batter in the process, although he fanned just three batters. But, if a pitcher’s job is to keep runs off the board, the right-hander fulfilled the task as the Yanks edged the Cubs, 2-1.

April 23

Remember when Pineda had “dirt” on his hand? Boston did, and in his second appearance of the season against the Red Sox, manager John Farrell had Pineda’s neck checked out for a substance that turned out to be pine tar. He was ejected with two out in the second inning, but not before surrendering two earned runs on four hits. The infraction merited a 10-game suspension, and shoulder trouble sent the 6-foot-7 righty to the DL on May 6.