Michael Pineda tops out at 95 mph in extended spring training game

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The Yankees still haven’t gotten anything out of right-hander Michael Pineda since he was acquired from the Mariners last offseason, but here’s an encouraging note to pass along regarding his rehab from shoulder surgery.

According to Chad Jennings of the Journal News, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that Pineda sat at 93 mph and topped out at 95 mph during an outing in extended spring training today. That’s great news considering how he struggled with his velocity prior to his labrum surgery last May.

Cashman told Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York earlier this week that Pineda should be ready for a minor league rehab assignment this month. If all goes well, he could join the Yankees at some point in June.

Pineda, who turned 24 in January, had a 3.74 ERA and 173/55 K/BB ratio in 171 innings over 28 starts as a rookie with the Mariners in 2011. Shoulder injuries can be tricky, but he could provide a big boost to the Yankees’ rotation if healthy.

Jake Arrieta to return to Cubs’ rotation on Thursday

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Cubs starter Jake Arrieta has been out over two weeks with a strained right hamstring, but he’s ready to return to action. The right-hander threw a bullpen on Tuesday and it went well, so he will start in Thursday’s series opener against the Brewers in Milwaukee, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports.

Arrieta, 31, returns with a 14-9 record, a 3.48 ERA, and a 157/53 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. If he stays on schedule, he’ll make three starts through the end of the regular season, including the regular season finale on October 1 against the Reds.

Arrieta is expected to max out at 75-80 pitches on Thursday and will ramp up through the end of the month.

Cardinals activate Adam Wainwright from the disabled list

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The Cardinals announced ahead of Tuesday’s series opener against the Reds that pitcher Adam Wainwright has been activated from the 10-day disabled list.

Wainwright, 36, has been absent since mid-August due to a right elbow impingement. The Cardinals plan to use him out of the bullpen through the end of the season. Prior to the injury, the right-hander posted a disappointing 5.12 ERA with a 96/44 K/BB ratio in 121 1/3 innings.

Wainwright is under contract for one more year at $19.5 million before becoming eligible for free agency.