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Michael Pineda playing catch, will ramp up rehab on Tuesday

05/12/2014 5:47 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Michael Pineda is still weeks away as he recovers from a back strain.(AP)
New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda began playing catch on Saturday, and the right-hander hopes that he will be back on the mound sooner than later.

"I feel much better … it feels really good right now," Pineda said Monday prior to the start of the Yankees-Mets series at Yankee Stadium.

Monday was an off-day for Pineda after two straight days of catch from 60 feet, but he will move back to 90 feet on Tuesday and ramp up his rehab a little bit.

"I haven't started throwing really hard yet, just regular throwing, but I feel good," he said. "It's been nice and easy, just to get my arm loose."

Pineda won't be ready to return from the disabled list when eligible and obviously will need some rehab starts, but the righty does have a loose timetable in his head for when he'll be back on the mound.

"I hope it's soon. … I don't know an exact date or anything, but soon."

With now three of their five Opening Day starters on the disabled list after CC Sabathia went down over the weekend, the Yankees could certainly use a healthy Pineda -- but, as manager Joe Girardi mentioned, they won't rush anything, and the team will just find a way until Pineda and Sabathia return.

"Our depth is being tested. All teams are going to go through it, and we have to find a way to get through it until guys come back," Girardi said, "and I don't really get down about it. I've been taught from a young age by my parents that you just keep going, and there's no reason to worry about what's behind you. That's what we try to do; we look at all the possibilities on who can start for us, we make a decision, and do the best we can."

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