MLB

Orioles-Yankees Preview

Joe Girardi summons relievers from a taxed New York Yankees bullpen more often than he would like.

He's hoping Michael Pineda can provide a much-needed break.

The right-hander gets the ball Sunday looking to help the Yankees take three of four from the visiting Baltimore Orioles.

New York's 105 2-3 innings from the bullpen rank among the most in baseball after accumulating 11 more through the first three games of this series. Relievers have come through a majority of the time, posting a 2.21 ERA that is among the best in the majors.

That amount of work could take a toll as the season progresses, though, especially with reliever Chris Martin being placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with right elbow tendinitis. Martin's 15 appearances are one off the team lead.

The Yankees (19-12) also are without starter Masahiro Tanaka (forearm).

Pineda (4-0, 2.97 ERA) has been one of New York's most consistent starters, tossing a team-high 39 1-3 innings in six outings while striking out 38 and walking three. He has a 1.27 ERA in his last three appearances after matching the longest start of his career, going eight scoreless innings in Tuesday's 6-3 win over Toronto.

His other eight-inning start was against Kansas City on Sept. 10, 2011, before tearing his right labrum, causing him to miss all of 2012 and '13. Pineda made only 13 starts last season because of a strain in the same shoulder.

"He's been as good as anyone we've got," Girardi said.

Pineda held the Orioles to one run in 12 1-3 innings over two starts in 2014, but he allowed five runs while striking out nine in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-5 win April 13 in Baltimore. He improved to 2-0 with a 2.04 ERA in five career starts against the Orioles.

That outing came five days before Baltimore (13-15) removed Jimmy Paredes from the disabled list because of a lower back strain. Paredes is hitting .347 in 17 games and extended his hitting streak to eight after going 3 for 5 with a homer and a triple in Saturday's 6-2 win.

"Jimmy's one of those guys that's been on both sides of the fence," said manager Buck Showalter, whose club ended a four-game skid. "He wants to stay in this lineup and he's doing what it takes."

Alejandro De Aza hit a two-run homer and Chris Davis had a solo shot for the Orioles, who had dropped nine of 11 on the road.

Bud Norris (1-3, 9.75) is slated to start this contest, but he left the ballpark early Saturday because of an illness.

"We did a couple things out of our bullpen to be able to cover ourselves, if necessary," Showalter told the team's official website. "Hopefully, he will be ready to go."

Norris had a 17.42 ERA while pitching just 10 1-3 innings over his first three starts, including five innings of three-run ball in a 7-5 win over the Yankees on April 15. He's been better over his last two, allowing three runs in 6 2-3 innings to beat Boston before giving up three runs in seven innings - all in the fourth - of Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the New York Mets.

The right-hander is 4-0 with a 3.21 ERA in five career starts against the Yankees, all coming in the last two seasons.

Alex Rodriguez, who hit his 656th career homer off Norris last month, got the day off Saturday with tightness in his legs. His status for the series finale is unclear.

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