Struggling with command, Michael Pineda may still become the Yankees’ hero in Gotham!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/harper31s-1-web.jpg

Michael Pineda is crucial to New York’s chances of competing in the East.

Battling command issues over three innings on Sunday, New York Yankees flamethrower Michael Pineda surrendered four runs and four walks in a rehab appearance with Double-A Trenton.

Throwing only 32 of 67 pitches for strikes, the 24-year-old Pineda clearly endured the most ineffective outing of his comeback.

Nevertheless, consistently hitting 93 mph on the radar, the 6-foot-7, 260 pound Dominican continues to exhibit a powerful and overwhelming fastball.

Acquired from Seattle for Jesús Montero and Héctor Noesí in January 2012, Pineda has been shelved since undergoing the knife last May to fix a torn anterior labral in his right shoulder.

Andy Pettitte, CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda are firmly entrenched as New York starters.

However, with Phil Hughes (3-7, 4.82 ERA), David Phelps (5-5, 4.95 ERA) and Ivan Nova (2-2, 4.63 ERA) taking turns molesting the canine, Pineda will be a welcome addition to New York’s rotation.

Gunning a heater that averaged 94.7 mph as a Mariners rookie in 2011, Pineda is overflowing with potential.

Now 6.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East at 42-39, Pineda possesses the type of arm the Yankees need to even compete on One East 161st Street in the Bronx.

Provided the 2011 All-Star returns healthy and not reeking of booze, Michael Pineda could become Gotham’s newest hero shortly after the All-Star Game.

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