(SportsNetwork.com) - Michael Pineda eyes a fourth straight win on Wednesday when the New York Yankees close out a three-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium.
New York had hoped to have ace Masahiro Tanaka start this one, but the Japanese right-hander was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday with tendinitis in his right wrist and a mild forearm strain.
Yankees' general manager Brian Cashman conservatively estimated that Tanaka would be out for a month. Of course, Tanaka has been pitching with a partially torn ligament in his right elbow and Cashman didn't rule out the fact that this injury could be a precursor to Tommy John surgery.
"We want to make sure that we protect, obviously, the elbow because obviously the forearm protects the elbow," said Cashman. "We want to make sure that this doesn't lead to the more horrific problems that we're trying to avoid."
So, it will be Pineda, who has won his last three starts and had his best outing his last time out on Friday versus the Mets. Pineda allowed one run and five hits in 7 2/3 innings to improve to 3-0, while lowering his ERA 3.86 ERA.
"He's very smart out there," catcher Brian McCann said. "He reads hitters well. He knows what he wants to do and can make adjustments on the fly, that's why he's as good as he is."
Pineda beat the Rays two starts ago and is 2-1 against them with a 3.23 ERA in five starts.
Tampa, meanwhile, will turn to lefty Drew Smyly, who returned from the disabled list Friday and received a no-decision against the Toronto Blue Jays. Smyly gave up two runs and four hits in 4 2/3 innings of his team's 12-3 win.
Smyly missed most of April with tendinitis in his pitching shoulder.
New York beat Tampa for the sixth straight time on Tuesday, as McCann drove in three runs to help the Yankees to a 4-2 victory.
McCann, one night after belting a tie-breaking homer during New York's 4-1 win in the opener of this three-game series, and Jacoby Ellsbury fueled the Yankees' seventh win in their last eight games. The former's three RBI came on a pair of doubles, while Ellsbury finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored.
A solid spot start from Chase Whitley (1-0) also aided the cause, with the right-hander holding the Rays to a run and striking out five over five innings shortly after being recalled from Triple-A.
All four New York runs came against Jake Odorizzi (2-2), reached for nine hits over a 6 1/3-inning stint.
The Yankees swept a three-game set from the Rays earlier this season.