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Brian Cashman: Michael Pineda will be a starter

Michael Pineda, who is on a rehab assignment

Michael Pineda, who is on a rehab assignment with the Double-A Trenton Thunder, works against the Erie Seawolves at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton. (June 25, 2013) Credit: Martin Griff

The Yankees' long list of injuries has impacted them primarily in the hitting department, but they also have a chance to improve their pitching if all goes well for Michael Pineda in his final 30-day rehab start Saturday at Double-A Trenton.

GM Brian Cashman said, "I'll wait and see how he looks tomorrow, but I kind of have a sense of what the next step is.''

Pineda underwent shoulder surgery last season after the Yankees acquired him and has yet to make his debut with them at the major-league level.

Manager Joe Girardi has a crowded rotation now, and Pineda was roughed up last Sunday in Trenton. But Cashman put an end to any speculation about using Pineda in a relief role.

"I don't see using him out of the pen,'' he said. "Somebody asked Joe, and he didn't say no. I'll say no. He's a starter and that's how we'll use him and that's it.''

Catching help withinFrancisco Cervelli recently had a setback -- a stress reaction in his right elbow that forced the club to shut him down for two weeks -- but Cashman said the market for catching help is "completely barren.''

As a result, he's focusing strongly on farmhand J.R. Murphy, who hit .268 for Trenton before moving up to Scranton, where he's hitting .297 with three home runs.

"He's doing great,'' Cashman said. "I'm not saying we'd do that, but if you're looking for alternatives, that's the most realistic one we've got.''

Nuñez getting closeGirardi said he believes Eduardo Nuñez is closer to returning than either Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez is and likely will rejoin the team during this homestand . . . Cashman said Curtis Granderson isn't hitting yet but is on pace to return by the end of July . . . Hiroki Kuroda threw a bullpen session Friday, testing the injured hip flexor that caused him to miss Friday night's start in favor of Ivan Nova. All went well, and he should make his next start . . . Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari, an avowed Yankees fan, visited for the second year in a row . . . Girardi rested Zoilo Almonte to give Vernon Wells a crack at Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez, and Wells had an eventful game. He singled with two outs in the fourth and scored on Luis Cruz's single, popped up with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth -- and won the game with a bases-loaded single in the ninth.

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