TAMPA, Fla. — It has been two straight years with the same goal before spring training for Michael Pineda.
Throw 200 innings.
He isn’t the only one hoping that goal is reached in 2016.
The Yankees have a slew of rotation questions this year and Pineda is on the list.
It goes without saying they would be greatly aided if the righthander, who made his spring training debut Monday in a 1-0 loss to the Astros at Steinbrenner Field, can make it through the season without a DL stint.
“I think it’s extremely important,” Joe Girardi said. “I think he has an opportunity to be really successful for us and be a big part of our rotation. As a team, I think it’s really important.”
Pineda, who allowed two hits and struck out three over two scoreless innings, used the same word Monday.
“For me, it’s very important because I have a couple injuries the last couple of years,” the 27-year-old said. “For me to pitch the whole year is very important because I can throw a lot of innings, win a lot of games and help my team.”
Pineda appeared on the way to the 200-inning threshold last season. He got off to a 5-0 start, with a 2.97 ERA, after seven outings and took every one of his scheduled turns in the rotation through July 24. But a right forearm strain sidelined him for a little more than a month and, after returning, Pineda never found consistency, finishing the year 12-10 with a 4.37 ERA in 160 2/3 innings. His career-high in innings is still the 171 he threw during his rookie season with the Mariners as shoulder trouble, and eventually shoulder surgery, cost him 2012 and 2013 and some of 2014.
“I thought he was pretty good last year,” Girardi said. “We knew we had some limits on his innings. But he’s [another] year removed from surgery, he’s built himself up from where he needs to be.”
Monday was a day of big arms throwing for the Yankees. Luis Severino, the 22-year-old righthander, followed Pineda to the mound and rebounded from a rough first start Wednesday against the Tigers. In that game, he allowed five runs, four on a grand slam, over two innings. Monday, Severino allowed two hits and struck out three in three scoreless innings.
“The first outing I was too quick to the plate, I stayed back a little more [today],” Severino said. “My first outing wasn’t good. This time I was much better.”
Andrew Miller came after Severino and, in his first appearance, allowed a hit and a walk and struck out one in a scoreless inning. Dellin Betances followed for his debut and struck out two in an inning, but allowed two hits — one was a dropped ball in center by Layne Adams after a long run that was scored a double — and a run.
“It’s nice to get out there and get one out of the way,” said Miller, who will close the first month of the season as Aroldis Chapman serves his suspension. “I’d like to have been crisper but that’s why we have this. That’s what spring training is for.”